KGOU

unaccompanied minors

Lori Navarro teaches English as a second language at a high school in Liberal, Kansas. She says she has had several unaccompanied minors in her classroom.
Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

In the small, rural city of Liberal, Kansas, a neighborhood of old trailer homes sits just off the main street. The small trailer at the end of the block, with faded yellow paint and creaky front steps, is the place 17-year-old Diego now calls home.

The recent surge of young migrants from Central America means immigration judges across the U.S. are deciding who can stay — and who must go back home.

But amid the emotional debate surrounding the issue, what exactly is the law when it comes to immigration and asylum seekers?

Maria Cristina Garcia, a professor of immigration and refugee history at Cornell University, spoke with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep about the law that's likely to be applied in these cases.

How does one become eligible for asylum in the U.S.?

The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will meet with President Obama on Friday.

But before the meeting, the heads of state are making the rounds in Washington, telling their side of an immigration crisis that has driven tens of thousands of unaccompanied children to the U.S. border.

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

Close to 60,000 children have crossed illegally into the U.S. since last October. They've sparked a crisis. But is it a humanitarian crisis or a public health one?

The children carry "swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis," and can spread the diseases to the U.S., wrote Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, in a July 7 letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sen. Marco Rubio argued that the nation's immigration laws need to be overhauled and said that Hillary Clinton would be a flawed candidate for president.

"I just think she's a 20th century candidate," he said. "I think she does not offer an agenda for moving America forward in the 21st century, at least not up till now."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce on Monday that he is ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, according to reports from The Monitor and The Houston Chronicle.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the conflict in Ukraine that likely led to the surface-to-air missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and the increased flow of unaccompanied minors over the U.S.-Mexico border.

Later, a conversation with Francis Rooney, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. President Bush appointed him to the post in 2005 shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II, and he's just written a book about his three-year tenure called The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship between the United States and the Holy See.

Anti-illegal immigration activists are planning several hundred protests in cities across the country on Friday and Saturday, part of a growing backlash against the federal government's efforts to temporarily house migrant children detained at the border.

Protesters say they are concerned about safety, as the Obama administration pushes to move detainees from Texas to shelters run by nonprofits in other states.

"They call me the Wolf," said the 25-year-old human smuggler sitting in front of me, sipping a Coke and stepping away for frequent cellphone calls.

"Everybody says we're the problem, but it's the reverse. The gringos don't want to get their hands dirty. So I bring them the Mexicans and Central Americans to do the dirty work for them," he says, smiling.

Pages