Despite Claims, More Than Half of Migrant Children Can Legally Stay in U.S.

Despite Claims, More Than Half of Migrant Children Can Legally Stay in U.S.

Thousands of young children have been crossing the United States-Mexico border alone and experts say they could qualify to stay here.

According to Fox News Latino, the nearly 50,000 children who have been caught crossing the border since as early as October 1, 2013, have reportedly fled their countries to escape gang recruitment efforts or threats by gangs to hurt or kill them or their families.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees states that as a result of the reasons for these children migrating alone, almost 60 percent could qualify for refugee status or political asylum. And according to, as many as 80 percent could meet the requirements for a Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) visa.

“The numbers that are eligible are really high,” Bryan Johnson, a New York-based immigration attorney, told Fox News Latino, “80 or 90 percent would qualify for some type of relief.”

Fox News Latino reports that many activists feel U.S. immigration laws need to be strengthened.

"It makes it hard to enforce immigration laws against minors,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News Latino.

“If these young people are permitted to stay, more will follow. It's all the more reason Congress needs to change that 2008 legislation dramatically. They need to limit that statute to deal with only the most extreme cases."