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U.S. border unaccompanied minors bring hopes and challenges to Worthington

More than 130 unaccompanied migrant children have been sent from the US southern border to Nobles County in southwestern Minnesota this year. It’s a high number for a small countyand that creates challenges in the Worthington area to help these newcomers.

Children who cross the southern border and are taken into custody have two options while waiting for a court date. They can go to a children’s shelter overseen by the US Department of Health and Human Services or they can stay with a sponsor if one is available.

Enrolling children in school is especially important, Worthington immigration attorney Erin Schutte Wadzinski said Monday in a conversation with MPR News host Cathy Wurzer.

“They fled violence, floods, danger and for many of them this is the first time they can go to school,” said Schutte Wadzinski, who works with young people in Guatemala and other Central American countries.

Schutte Wadzinski said one of the young people she worked with told her she was working hard to learn English so she could become trilingual and work as an interpreter to help others through the immigration process.

Despite language barriers and other challenges, Schutte Wadzinski said Worthington was working “diligently” to provide resources.

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“One thing about these kids, they’re so brave and kind,” she said. “I would tell them to work hard, stay out of trouble, follow your dreams, and in Minnesota…don’t forget a winter coat.”

Use the audio player above to listen to the entire conversation.

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We try to make transcripts for Minnesota Now available the next business day after a broadcast. When they are ready, they will appear here.

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