Despite Seeking a Better Life – Officials Estimate There are Among 8,244 Others Across Country
In a February 25, 2012 NYT article, “Far From Family, Alone, Homeless and Still Just 18”, reporter Meribah Night, profiles two homeless immigrant youth who left their families in their native countries behind and came to the United States in search of a better life. Instead, they found themselves homeless and living in youth shelters in Illinois.
It is estimated that in 2011, 8,244 children crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied by a parent or guardian and without the proper documents needed to find a job and ended up in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
They come seeking employment, hoping to reconnect with family, and fleeing persecution, abuse or violence. Many find themselves in one of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Facilities and then upon turning 18, released to a homeless shelter for lack of a placement with family or friends or the prospect of employment.