Yes! Immigrants from Central America have been crossing the border and seeking asylum (see question # 6 for more on refugee process) for decades. The issue of Unaccommpanied Minors from Central America (UACs) skyrocketed and grabbed media attention in 2014. Since 2014 there have been nearly 300 UACs released to sponsors in South Dakota. (for up to date numbers see: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/resource/unaccompanied-alien-children-released-to-sponsors-by-state)
Then the impact of the Trump administration’ s policy change to separate children from parents who are crossing the border surged in the summer of 2018. After six weeks the administration reverted to the Obama administration policy to not separate children from parents. In that six-week period nearly 3000 children were separated and shipped to children detention centers across the United States. Many parents have been deported while children remain in the United States – remaining separated. But the majority of parents and children have been reunited. If parents are released on bond they usually travel to be with family. We have about a dozen parents who have reunited with their children in South Dakota and also live here.
UACs and families reunited in SD are all in immigration court proceedings. Immigration court is in Minneapolis, MN. (Link to Hand in Hand info)