US Office of Refugee Resettlement: LI sees 54 percent drop in unaccompanied minors entering country

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LONG ISLAND -

Fewer unaccompanied minors illegally entering the country are settling in Long Island, according to the latest numbers from the federal government.

Many children are coming from Central America without their parents to flee gangs and extreme violence.

According to the US Office of Refugee Resettlement, 830 unaccompanied minors settled in Nassau or Suffolk County during the 2018 fiscal year.

That number marks a 54 percent drop from the more than 1,800 children who came in 2017.

Refugee advocates like Patrick Young of the Central American Refugee Center  say children are still crossing the but aren't making it to Long Island due to President Donald Trump's no tolerance immigration policy.

"We have not seen a decline in the number of people trying to come in but we have seen that those children who intend to come join their families on Long Island are being detained for extraordinary periods of time," Young says.

Young says children are being held in detention facilities for as long as four months.

Since the only shelter on Long Island that houses unaccompanied minors is Mercy First in Syosset, many children are staying at shelters in other parts of the country.

Unaccompanied minors coming to Long Island hit a peak in 2014 when more than 3,000 settled here.

 

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