THE BRONX - As tens of thousands of children cross the border into the United States, United Nations officials are urging the U.S. to open its doors to them, in what they are calling a refugee situation.
Since October, about 52,000 children have been taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents, about 75 percent of whom hail from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
According to the New York Times, 32 children were murdered in Honduras last month alone, bringing the total of youths killed to 409 since January 2013.
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The escalating violence has caused U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to say that those who enter the U.S. and other nearby countries should not be automatically sent back to their home countries, but should receive international protection instead.
U.N. officials say they want the U.S. to update a 30-year-old declaration regarding the obligations nations have to aid refugees.
Immigration Program Attorney Arturo Lopez says that if the U.S. recognizes the children as refugees, they would qualify to go through the immigration process and be allowed to stay in the country. Without this protection, the U.S. may be forced to send the undocumented immigrants back to their home countries.