WJTV News Channel 12 - RALEIGH: McCrory says 'unaccompanied children' have come to NC

McCrory says 1,200 'unaccompanied children' have flocked to NC

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Gov. Pat McCrory said there are at least 1,200 "unaccompanied children" in North Carolina who have arrived after crossing the border. Gov. Pat McCrory said there are at least 1,200 "unaccompanied children" in North Carolina who have arrived after crossing the border.
RALEIGH, N.C. - A law that passed in the final days of President George Bush's administration has caused unintended consequences, leading frustrated North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to call a news conference Tuesday and demand the president and Congress return from vacation to act now.

McCrory expressed concern Tuesday about the number of "unaccompanied children" who have arrived in North Carolina after crossing the border, expressing his complaints in a strongly worded news conference.

McCrory said there are at least 1,200 children who fit that description in the state. He expressed concern about the lack of information the state has about who they are, where they are, who their sponsors are and what their health status is.

McCrory said he is concerned about the impact on children in North Carolina if the students coming in are not healthy. He also said there was not enough oversight of children coming in and he is afraid they could be exposed to drugs and prostitution.

"We are very concerned who these children are being placed with," McCrory said.

McCrory said federal leaders needed to take immediate actions on the matter.

"I'm calling on the president and leaders of Congress to cancel their vacations and solve this problem," he said.

McCrory said he was not aware of any legal actions he or the state could immediately take to solve the problem.

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The problem is one that has been bubbling at the American southwest border in recent years, and has now reached all the way to North Carolina.

NBC News reported there have been more than 57,000 apprehensions of unaccompanied children at the U.S. border from Oct. 1 through June 30. But many of those children had been caught multiple times.

The issue relates to a bill passed with little opposition in 2008 in the final days of Bush's tenure as president.

The bill was called the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Action Act and was named for Wilberforce, a passionate British abolitionist from the early 19th century who led the drive to end slavery. Wilberforce had a major influence in the United States.

The idea was to protect children who were not from Canada or Mexico by prohibiting them from being sent quickly to their native country if they enter the United States alone.

But over time, children from countries beyond Mexico began to flood to the U.S. The BBC cited the U.S. Customers and Border Protection agency as saying the children crossing has risen past 50,000 this year after being less than 20,000 in 2011.

About a fourth of the children come from Mexico, and the others come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The BBC said a jump in gang and drug-related violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras has led to the children fleeing those countries.

"It is classic unintended consequences," Marc R. Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, told The New York Times. "This was certainly not what was envisioned."

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.
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