Fleeing Violence, Illegal Youths Flock to US

But green cards aren't that easy to come by

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 30, 2014 4:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – Unaccompanied minors are surging into the US from Mexico, many seeking a haven from gang violence or hoping the government will take pity on them, the Miami Herald reports. But they endure terrible hardships on the way—like hunger, illness, robbery, and sexual assault, reports the LA Times—and learn that President Obama's "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" won't help them because it's for young immigrants who arrived in early 2007. (As for immigration reform, Congress is still thinking about it.) But some immigrants can get a green card if they show proof of neglect, abuse, or abandonment.

More than 24,000 arrived last year, and with 120 showing up each day, the annual tally could hit 60,000; just yesterday, some 370 children were found dumped by smugglers in Mexico, Raw Story reports. Irene Granados, 16, was a lucky immigrant, fleeing El Salvador for northern Mexico and walking across the Sonora desert into Arizona. Immigration agents nabbed her group and she was put in a detention center for minors, but her aunt found her and persuaded authorities to let her take Granados home. Now the girl is living in West Palm Beach and seeking a US visa. "I want to be a doctor," she says.

In this July 28, 2011 file photo, two people illegally cross the border fence separating Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
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