Alabama housing hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant minors

Alabama housing hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant minors
Office of Refugee Settlement (Source: WBRC Fox6 News)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A lot of unaccompanied immigrant minors are being sent to Alabama.

In 2003, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 462, transferred responsibilities for the care and placement of unaccompanied children from the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Here’s how it works: a background check is done Under the Office of Refugee Resettlement. This determines if the child is a danger to themselves or anyone else.

They also look at medical and mental health issue. The agency may place a child into shelter, foster care or a group home. Placing children depends on what is best for the child to put them into a safe environment, based on the child’s needs.

Since 2018 Alabama has received 529 children.

Jefferson County has gotten 71

Marshall County 65

27% are younger than 14 years old

72% are 15 to 17 years old

54% comes from Guatamala

26% comes from Honduras

12% from El Salvador

“These kids are the victims here,” Steve Ammons, Jefferson County Commissioner said.

Ammons said it’s a good thing that Jefferson County can provide some of these minors a home.

“Not having parents at the young age, to not have their parents with them. To be alone is probably to be very scary time for them,” Ammons said.

A child is placed in a secured facility if they pose a threat, have a criminal record, or could possibly run away.

“It’s good we can be there and have the services to help. I can’t imagine being in their shoes,” Ammons said.

Alabama’s Department of Human Resources is not involved in the the placement of these minors. It remains unknown how many Alabama may get in the future.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.