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Potential help for undocumented immigrant youth in North Carolina

A child who crosses the nation's borders without accompaniment from a foreign country often faces confusion and uncertainty regarding his or her new life in America. As many as 1,100 undocumented immigrant children are expected to arrive in a North Carolina county in 2015. Some espouse the opinion that they should be made to return to their homelands. Legal representatives in more than 50 cities, however, believe that the children deserve professional help in order to navigate immigration proceedings and seek legal status in the nation.

The Safe Child Immigration Project was initiated by a Charlotte attorney in conjunction with others throughout the country. A legal services agency has coordinated the initiative, hiring legal assistance for any child under age 15 entering the United States without a parent or guardian. Spokesmen report that many of the children are severely limited with regard to their abilities to read and write English.

One attorney empathized with such children, saying that it must be very frightening to make the decision to cross the border, and then, as a result, have to face the court alone. He advocates assisting unaccompanied immigrant youth and treating them with human decency as they attempt to navigate the nation's legal system. An executive director for the legal services agency stated that many of the children coming to America on their own are doing so in order to escape violence and threats of personal danger.

Statistics show that 2,064 undocumented immigrant children entered North Carolina from foreign countries last year. A gentleman from a foundation that donated $25,000 to the cause said that, without proper assistance, many of the children are at risk for deportation, which could lead them back to poverty, gang violence and serious deprivation. Those who support the initiative believe that undocumented youth deserve to be provided with legal consultation and assistance when preparing to enter into immigration proceedings in a court of law.

Source: lakewyliepilot.com, "Charlotte attorneys aid unaccompanied immigrant kids", Mark Price, Feb. 12, 2015

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