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Rep. Joe Garcia Weighs In On Flood Of Immigrant Children

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Undocumented immigrant children are crossing the border into the United States from Mexico at alarming rates.

Some have been sent to Miami where shelters have breached capacity.

On Monday, CBS4’s Cynthia Demos spoke with Congressman Joe Garcia who got a first hand look at what was happening at one shelter where they are being housed.

Watch Cynthia Demos’ report, click here.

“They had a recent arrival, the median age is 15 some though were as young as seven,” said Garcia who said the shelter received and additional 148 children.

Garcia said children are a hot commodity for smugglers. Kids are provided extra due process at the border while adults are turned away. Smugglers cash in on this from families who are seeking a better life for their children.

The children are primarily from Central America, but this is costing more than just money

“Kids are riding the train in and they are getting abused and raped on the other side, said Garcia. ‘Some children are dehydrated and exploited.”

Garcia said this is yet another reason we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Another problem is that the kids are being smuggled into the country by the thousands.

From 2004 to 2011 there were about 6,600 children per year who crossed the border. In 2012 there were 13,000 and 2013 there were 24,000. In just the past nine months more than 50,000 unaccompanied child immigrants have crossed into the United States.

President Obama has called the situation a ‘humanitarian crisis’. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has expressed his outrage.

As the politicians search for a workable form of immigration reform, undocumented children at three shelters in Miami, as well as shelters in California, Arizona and Texas will have to wait to learn their fate.

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