MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG met a mother and her two young daughters who know the difficulty of trying to become a U.S. citizen after illegally moving here.
We met them earlier this week as they tried to get Social Security cards. The girls will go to Germantown schools next week, but it hasn’t been easy.
Reyna Ulloa moved to the Mid-South with just her eldest daughter three years ago. In March, they drove to Houston, where the 13-year-old girl got on a plane to get her 10-year-old sister in Honduras. The youngest daughter suffers from a brain disorder that causes problems with her vision and walking.
“In the United States, they have the hospital only for kids.In my country, no,” said Ulloa.
Those kinds of hopes and dreams of a better life are why there are so many unaccompanied children in the U.S.
Earlier this month, the federal government sent 760 of them to Tennessee. Most will live with family already here, but they will go through immigration court.
“I’ve had children 4 and 6 years old in deportation cases. They’re brought over by relatives, caught at the border and they have to be dealt with,” said Ray Babaoglu, an immigration lawyer.
Babaoglu says the extra deportation cases will only lead to a longer backlog in the state’s only immigration court.
“Our court here in Memphis has two judges. One is off on medical leave now, so we have one. And, it’s over 6,000 cases,” said Babaoglu.
However, there is some relief on the way. WREG got a look at the construction at Brinkley Plaza in downtown Memphis. The building is getting a remodel, which could help speed up clearing the backlog. That’s something Ulloa hopes will help keep families together.
“In the United States, it’s the best life for the people,” said Ulloa.
WREG is told the families of the children will likely ask for asylum or deferred asylum so the children can stay here until they become adults.