As million of kids have gotten back into the swing of things in US schools, for these Latino children back-to-school has a different feel. They are in an immigration jail in Texas.
Hundreds of children and their parents -mostly from Central America- have made the dangerous trek from their countries to the US seeking a better life for themselves.
These kids have been housed at the Karnes County Residential Center near San Antonio, Texas.
Classes are eight hours a day at Karnes County Residential Center. The curriculum for pre-kindergarten to 12th grade is the same as bilingual schools across the state. Days begin with the reciting of pledges of allegiance in English to the Texas and American flags.
Amid a surge of families and unaccompanied minors pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities converted what had been the all-male Karnes facility about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio to one with capacity for 532 women and children. They then teamed up with a nearby charter school district to begin offering classes, the AP reported.
The US government wants these children to keep up with their studies despite the fact that they are detained.
Whether they stay here in the United States or go back to their home countries, they’re here now and they’re learning, said Enrique Lucero, who directs ICE’s enforcement and removal operations in the region, reported AP.
The children will stay in the facility until they are deported or are released on bond and are given permission to live elsewhere in the US.
Life different for unaccompanied minors
Things are different for the thousands of unaccompanied minors that have immigrated into the country illegally.
Thousands of other children detained without their parents — comprising the bulk of the immigration influx — are processed differently. Many of those unaccompanied minors have already been released to live with relatives in the U.S. and have matriculated into ordinary public schools as their cases progress, according to the AP.