Feds to give legal aid to undocumented children

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POSTED: Monday, June 9, 2014 - 4:24pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 7:13am

It's been all over the news lately. Undocumented children without a parent are crossing into the United States at a historic pace. 

USA Today reports the Border Patrol has caught more than 47,000 minors along our area of the border from January through May this year. That's nearly double the amount from the same period last year. 

The Department of Justice on Friday announced a plan to offer lawyers for these undocumented minors. It's a $2 million program that's called Justice Americorps. The grant program will bring in 100 lawyers and paralegals. They will give legal assistance to some of the children and teens who cross the border without parents. 

"The program will take a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. 

The massive influx of migrants have strained federal resources. Border Patrol stations are filled past capacity and immigration Courts are backed up. The Obama Administration hopes this program eases the burden by moving the minors quickly through court and reduce the overcrowding at holding facilities.

"What it means is they're going to stay temporarily, until they have to be in front of the judge because we don't have enough immigration judges to respond," said Martha Sanchez of the immigrant-rights group La Union del Pueblo Entero. She sees this as a band-aid for the current problem with immigration minors and nothing more. "We're happy that they can process them much faster, but we hope that the problem gets really addressed at the root level, which is why is it so many children are coming."

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