MIAMI, FL – Miami's shelters for immigrant children have increased the number of beds they have available in order to accommodate the massive influx of unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, who in recent months have poured into the U.S. illegally across the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Miami is one of the cities picked by authorities to receive the more than 47,000 minors who, according to official sources, entered the country up to May of this fiscal year, twice as many as during the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Cheryl Little of Americans for Immigrant Justice (formerly the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center) told the daily El Nuevo Herald that last year they were already overwhelmed by the increase in the number of unaccompanied minors who arrived and ended up in Miami shelters.
The organization, which protects immigrants' rights and, in particular, those of children, said the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement began to increase the number of beds in Miami's shelters three months ago and to provide legal assistance for a greater number of undocumented minors.
This week, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson urged Central American parents not to send their kids alone to this country because they will receive no immigration benefits, but instead will be exposed to many risks.
"Those who cross borders today illegally, including children, are not eligible for an earned path to citizenship," Johnson said.
For his part, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Friday demanded that the United States do more to help Central America combat the violence of drug trafficking that spurs the massive flight of Central American children, whom he considers war refugees.