Child immigration is not new. On Jan. 1, 1892, opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island, Annie Moore (15) and her two younger brothers from Cork, Ireland, walked off the gangplank. She was awarded a $10 gold coin for being the first person to register. In fact, a statue of Annie and the boys stands on the island.
Mr. and Mrs. Moore had migrated four years earlier and perhaps they were at the dock to pick up their children or made arrangements to meet them elsewhere. But strictly speaking they were unaccompanied so they were migrant children.
Since current child migrants became a national story, people are asking if this is an immigration crisis or a refugee crisis. In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has designated many of the Central Americans fleeing from regional violence as refugees.
All these kids are trying to escape horrific conditions in Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Guatemala. They are running from rape, family violence, gang recruitment and murder. Most of them have been targeted with death threats and are probably eligible for political asylum. Many are coming to help a family in crushing poverty. Some are trying to join a parent who left years ago, before the recession and increased border enforcement slowed down adult immigration.
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