Since October, about 57,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border into the United States and been caught. That’s about triple the rate from previous years and it has put a tremendous strain on our immigration system, leading to overcrowding in existing facilities.
Recently, Governor Patrick proposed that we house some of these kids in Massachusetts until they can be placed with families. His plan has sparked a good deal of controversy and raised a host of questions. How many kids exactly? How long will they stay? How much will it cost? And how will it affect the state’s immigrant population?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, here is what you need to know about the governor’s plan.
How many kids are we talking about?
Governor Patrick has offered to house up to 1,000 young asylum seekers in the state. That may sound like a lot of kids, but the actual effect on our immigrant population would be vanishingly small.
Massachusetts actually has a lot of immigrants. More than 1 of every 7 people in the state was born in a foreign country, for a total of 1 million foreign-born residents. Some of them are students at our universities, some are former students with expired visas, others crossed the border not for school but to build new lives.
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