- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

HARRISBURG, Pa. Four Tanzanian teen-agers detained for eight months after leaving a Boy Scout gathering in Virginia will get their wish and move in with a foster family this week, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said yesterday.
"The INS has worked very hard to try to find a foster family that would be willing to keep all four of the boys together and that has the appropriate language skills," said INS spokeswoman Karen Kraushaar.
The four boys, ages 17 and 16, speak Swahili and a little English. They were being held in an agency detention center in Berks County, Pa., pending the outcome of their visa and asylum proceedings.
Miss Kraushaar declined to identify the host family, saying only that they live in the Midwest and speak Swahili.
The boys said they left the Boy Scout Jamboree near Bowling Green, Va., in July to find out how they could stay in the United States and get an education.
When they saw reports of their disappearance on television while visiting relatives in the Washington area, they turned themselves in.
Andrew Morton, an attorney for the boys, was not immediately available for comment. The boys repeatedly have expressed the desire to begin attending school in the United States, Mr. Morton has said.
They will be able to attend regular schools once they move in with the foster family, Miss Kraushaar said.
Mr. Morton has accused the INS of incompetence in getting the boys into a foster home. He also said the INS was holding the boys in an effort to capture relatives who the INS believes are residing illegally in the United States.
Miss Kraushaar said so-called "baiting" is against agency policy and said that finding the proper family took the entire eight months.
The boys' attorneys are contesting the agency's charge that they violated the conditions of their visas when they left the Boy Scout gathering.
The boys asked for asylum in the United States after government agents began visiting their parents' homes in Tanzania and asking about the boys, Mr. Morton has said. Family members became afraid that the boys would face reprisal for embarrassing the government, he has said.
At the Berks County detention center, the boys have been able to make phone calls, watch television and get classes in English, but the course material began to repeat because the facility is programmed for shorter stays, Mr. Morton has said.
Mr. Morton and other advocates of quicker, friendlier treatment of unaccompanied alien juveniles say the case is one of many that has created a push for change in the way the INS treats juveniles.


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