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As the MS-13 and other gangs in Central America grow larger, more powerful, and more brutal, Central American children have been targeted for recruitment, harm, and death in record numbers. As they come under increasing threat, many of these children have fled to the United States. As these children move through a complicated immigration court process, thousands of them have moved in with family members on Long Island, which has one of the largest Salvadoran populations in the country.
Our country and our community here on Long Island have responded to the arrival of these children in a variety of ways. Parts of our government have attempted to deprive them of their legal rights and deport them immediately. Some districts on Long Island attempted to prevent the refugee children from registering in schools. Other groups have welcomed the children with open arms, seeking to provide assistance in difficult times. What can and what should we be doing in response to this humanitarian crisis?