Immigrant Influx: Refugee vs. Asylee

The U.S. doesn't currently have sour diplomatic relations with the tens of thousands of Central American migrants' home countries, so those families are not yet technically considered refugees, meaning they would have already been given legal permission to be here.

Those temporarily in the Borderland's handful of shelters rather than detention centers have been able to prove that they have a family member in the U.S. or that they have a considerable fear of their homelands. But they're allowed to stay in the U.S. only until immigration courts determine whether to grant them asylum.

El Paso attorney Ouisa Davis, who has previously specialized in immigration law, told ABC-7 that Central American drug cartels and gangs are forcing people into criminal activity under threat of death and using extortion to purchase safety.

But retired school teacher Juan Aguirre said he's worried about the economic strain of housing the children if they're granted asylum.

"They have broken the law. I know they're young, but they have broken the law. ... They don't have any papers to be here, they don't have any documentation, they should be sent back," Aguirre said. "College graduates that get out of college, and there's no jobs for them. ... These are the same kids that are going to be competing with American children."

Davis was also concerned that U.S. immigration law requires children to meet the same standards as adults in order to prove a need for asylum.

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