Questions raised over care, education of immigrant children in Freehold

Government officials say as many as 1,500 of

Government officials say as many as 1,500 of the unaccompanied immigrant children caught crossing America's border have come to New Jersey. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

FREEHOLD BOROUGH - Government officials say as many as 1,500 of the unaccompanied immigrant children caught crossing America's border have come to New Jersey.

Some of them are now living in Freehold Borough, according to Rita Dentino, of the immigrant rights group Casa Freehold.

"We're seeing children who don't have any connection to an adult," Dentino says. "They're children who are here by themselves."

The humanitarian crisis in Central America has driven more than 50,000 children to make the dangerous trek to the border. The children fled several Central American countries by the tens of thousands to escape violence. 

State Sen. Jennifer Beck says she's concerned about a crisis those numbers could create in Freehold schools if the number of immigrant children increases.

"Both from a capacity and a financial perspective, it would be an enormous challenge for Freehold Borough," she says.

Beck says the mostly Latino district is already hundreds of students over capacity and believes local taxpayers should not pay the extra costs of refugee students. 

"Wherever they go, the federal government is responsible to make sure their education is funded," Beck says.

Dentino, who has assisted child immigrants for the past decade, does not believe the costs are too high.

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