The federal government will be providing the funding for legal assistance benefiting some of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors recently apprehended illegally entering the United Sates.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that over the coming two years, it will be distributing $9 million to two refugee organizations to offer legal help to illegal immigrant minors in deportation proceedings, according to reports.
The funding will be distributed to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants through supplemental funding from the Unaccompanied Alien Children’s program, and will benefit some 2,600 of the unaccompanied minors, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In recent days, other government officials have decided to fund the unaccompanied minors’ legal help, including New York City, which has allocated $1.9 million to the effort, and California, where Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a measure to provide $3 million to fund legal aid for the migrant children.
From October to August, more than 66,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended illegally entering the United States throughout the southern border. The vast majority of the illegal immigrant minors are from Central American and have been placed with sponsors and family members in communities throughout the interior of the United States.
Though in the United States the unaccompanied minors are still technically in deportation proceedings, a process that can take years, they can seek refugee status or other forms of relief from deportation. A recent Associated Press report notes, however, that about 70 percent of the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant family units that were also released to the interior of the United States and told to report back to immigration officials failed to return.
According to the Associated Press, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte expressed opposition to the funding, saying that it not only violates the law but also serves to encourage more illegal immigration.