D.C. region among top destinations for children crossing border

WASHINGTON — Congress skipped town for its summer holiday without a deal on immigration. Coincidentally, the very issue they’ve yet to resolve has arrived at the front door.

The Washington area has become one of the most popular destinations for unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border.

“About 15 percent of the children who have been placed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement have been in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.,” says Marc Rosenblum, deputy director the U.S. immigration program at the Migration Policy Institute.

Virginia alone ranks fifth among all states in receiving unaccompanied minors this year, only behind Texas, New York, Florida and California.

Rosenblum says that finding shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

“Most of these kids are getting placed with family members, so naturally they’re ending up in communities with Central American populations,” he says.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the D.C. area has the second-largest Salvadoran community in the nation, only following Los Angeles.

Between Jan. 1 and July 7, 2,234 unaccompanied minors were released to sponsors in Virginia, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rosenblum says the D.C. area has been a popular place for Central Americans since the exodus from their home countries began in the 1980s.

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