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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Learning about unaccompanied immigrant children

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 20, 2014 2:05 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, August 21, 2014:

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Photo by pbs.org

The number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the U.S. southern border has slowed down in the last few weeks.  Some say it could be because of hotter weather in the southwest while others point to stepped up border patrols.

Even with fewer children coming from the Central American nations of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, more than 60,000 have made their way into the United States since October.  Most say they are trying to escape violence, crime, and gangs.

The migration has been described as a humanitarian nightmare.  Federal law says children coming from Central America are automatically put into custody and given full court proceedings.  

The original law was designed to fight child trafficking.

The large number of immigrant children presented a significant challenge.  There weren't enough beds or facilities to house the children comfortably.  All of them had to be screened to determine where they would go.

One of the organizations that interviewed young immigrants is Church World Service.

Beth May, an immigration specialist in CWS's Lancaster office, was one of the people who interviewed the children.  Sheila Mastropietro is the director of the Lancaster office.  Both appear on Thursday's Smart Talk.

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Beth May & Sheila Mastropietro, Church World Service

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Comments: 2

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-21 08:48

    Frederick emails:

    Can you estimate how many children are kidnapped or killed trying to get to the United States?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-21 08:58

    Phil in Lebanon emails:

    Regarding the caller Michael....if the Native Americans had the same attitude, Michael's ancestors would never have been able to set foot on these shores either.

    Italy, Germany, Ireland, etc., we're the 'Guatemala/Ecuador/etc' of their day....aren't Americans supposedly the most compassionate people on the planet? What has happened to people like Michael? That perhaps is another show for Radio Smarttalk.....

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