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  1. ITV Report

Unaccompanied aliens: The child migrants who are taken from relatives upon crossing the US border

Child migrants crossing into the US without their parents are being taken from those accompanying them and held in squalid conditions for up to two months.

The children, known as unaccompanied aliens, are often migrants from Central America who have been uprooted from their homes by violence and sent by their parents to find a better life in the States.

Despite being alone while held in camps along the border, most of the children made the journey with family members, but due to US law minors cannot be left with anyone other than a parent or legal guardian.

This has resulted in hundreds of children being separated from their relatives as soon as they step onto American soil and taken to overcrowded border patrol offices.

Border patrol offices are becoming so overcrowded that local facilities are being opened to ease the strain. Credit: ITV News

"There are children that have been raised by an older sibling, or children that have been raised by a grandmother and they're separated at the border," asylum lawyer Ricardo de Anda told ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy.

"It's as traumatic for those children as it is for children who are separated from their parents."

He added: "I've been practicing law for 45 years and I've never seen anything that's more heartbreaking.

"I've never cried with clients the way I've cried with mothers. I was never trained on helping a child of five years old, who is in jail."

As a result of the huge number of migrants entering the US, immigration shelters have been opened to ease the strain on other facilities where people are being held.

The Carrizo Springs migrant facility, where around 200 children are currently staying, was opened for that reason but many say it is too little too late.

  • Emma Murphy on the Carrizo Springs child immigration centre:

Those who run the centre say it is not a detention centre and the children inside are free to leave - however, if they do, the police will be notified.

Most of the children already have family living all over the United States however they cannot be released into their care until government checks are carried out.

This has resulted in demonstrations across America, with protesters demanding children be left with their immediate family.

Children are being taken from their families and held in immigration camps for up to two months. Credit: AP

For many of the children, this demand will eventually become a reality.

However, with a president so hell-bent on curbing illegal immigration, their freedom in the United States of America is not guaranteed.