52K child refugees: Impact of border crisis on Michigan

(WZZM) -- Since October, border authorities have taken into custody more than 52,000 children, mostly from Central America and unaccompanied by adults.

That's nearly double last year's total and 10 times the number from 2009. President Obama is calling on Congress for $4 billion to deal with the problem.

Wednesday during an immigration hearing in Washington, Senator John McCain lashed out at the administration for restricting access to the area by members of Congress.

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Susan Reed, an attorney with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, says it's not likely the refugees will be sent to West Michigan because we don't have a large Central American community here.

Reed has represented refugee children in the past. She expects to see a few dozen released to Michigan sponsors this year, and says the state currently serves anywhere between 100 to 200 refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, and other Central American regions at a time.

Michigan social service agencies Bethany Christian Services and Lutheran Social Services help the children transition.

"My sense locally is this is not going to be something that will stress any system. And I would hope in a region that's as generous and faith-focused as West Michigan is, I would hope people can set aside those type of fears and think when it comes to the kids we have coming to West Michigan, how can we address the trauma they've suffered," said Reed.

Reports say one safe place the federal government is looking to house refugee boys is Wolverine Human Services in Vassar, Michigan, in the thumb area.


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