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Feds looking for place to house Immigrant kids
ALBANY - The federal government is considering placing a shelter to house undocumented immigrant children at the former Kenwood Academy. Currently, shelters along the southern U.S. border are overwhelmed by children, mostly from Central America. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is studying several sites to identify those that can handle future needs.
"We know for a fact, these children face a very perilous journey up through the southern board, it's not an easy journey and at some point there's opportunity to be exploited by human trafficking circles," said Sarah Rogerson, a professor at Albany Law School.
Students at Albany law provide free legal services for eligible clients at the Albany Law Clinic and Justice Center. Rogerson has overseen several immigration cases and helped them get on a path to citizenship.
The school is also training lawyers in the area on immigration to handle potential future cases.
"Children have been coming to this country for a very long time. The fact that we have a greater volume of children arriving at a certain point is something we need to address, but we have the infrastructure currently to welcome these children," said Rogerson.
The federal government has historically provided shelter, food, education and medical services after youth are apprehended by Border Patrol. The children stay at shelters for about a month until relatives are located with the country. They then wait to make an appearance at immigration court where lawyers typically argue for them to become permanent residents and eventual citizens.
"Historically when these children arrive in the United States they're here to continue their lives not to cause trouble," said Rogerson. "We're going to have to, nationwide, figure out a way to deliver these services on a larger scale to these children."