News / USA

Influx of Undocumented Kids Overwhelms US Border Patrol

Two young girls watch a World Cup soccer match on a television from their holding area at a detention facility in Nogales, Arizona.
Two young girls watch a World Cup soccer match on a television from their holding area at a detention facility in Nogales, Arizona.
Greg Flakus
At least 47,000 children have been apprehended since October while illegally crossing the southwest U.S. border with Mexico. The influx of the minors in recent weeks – mostly coming from Central America and traveling without a parent – has overwhelmed U.S. Border Patrol agents and Texas-area facilities set up to house detainees.   
 
Hundreds of undocumented immigrant children are being held in detention centers near the border and many more have been sent to a special center established in Arizona.
 
The apprehension of undocumented minors presents complications. While Mexican citizens caught crossing the border illegally quickly get sent back and those from other countries are processed through the immigration court system. But by law, children cannot be sent back alone. They must be processed through the Office of Refugee Resettlement or put in the care of family members residing in the United States.
 
FILE - A Border Patrol agent stands on a ranch fence line with children taken into custody in South Texas brush country north of Laredo, Texas.FILE - A Border Patrol agent stands on a ranch fence line with children taken into custody in South Texas brush country north of Laredo, Texas.
x
FILE - A Border Patrol agent stands on a ranch fence line with children taken into custody in South Texas brush country north of Laredo, Texas.
FILE - A Border Patrol agent stands on a ranch fence line with children taken into custody in South Texas brush country north of Laredo, Texas.
And, the Associated Press reports, Customs and Border Protection must transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours. The department reportedly has more than 7,600 children in its care in more than 100 shelters nationwide.
 
Resettling and caring for the Central American children could cost up to $2.28 billion next year, The Los Angeles Times reported, citing administration officials.
 
The surging number of children in custody has created a logjam in administrative. The situation has frustrated Border Patrol agents and immigration officials, who’ve been told not to speak to the news media.
 
Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union, said agents patrolling in Texas’ Rio Grande area have reported unusual encounters recently.
 
Most of the time, people making illegal crossings "attempt to evade the Border Patrol" unless they’re injured, Moran said. Now, "Border Patrol agents are being actively sought out. People are waiting in very conspicuous places to be apprehended."
 
The White House explained the surge in apprehensions of unaccompanied minors by saying families in violence-torn countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are sending their children north to protect them.
 
That seemed to be the case at first, Moran said, but many of the detainees now say they came for another reason.
 
"Interviews with the detainees show that overwhelmingly, now, they are coming because they heard from a family member or a friend that the United States is no longer enforcing its immigration laws and that the United States is handing out what they term permisos, or permits, and allowing people to stay here in the U.S.," Moran said.
 
Border Patrol agents have seen evidence indicating the border crossings are being orchestrated by criminal gangs that engage in both drug smuggling and human trafficking, Moran said.
 
"We believe this is a coordinated activity by the cartels to tie up the Border Patrol so that they can push their drugs through," he explained.
 
Tristan Reed, Mexico security analyst for Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Austin, Texas, said drug cartels control crossings from the Mexican side of the border and could be taking advantage of the Central American immigrants.
 
"It is well within their ability to pick and choose who crosses and where they cross," Reed said, "and it certainly is a good opportunity for them to push more profitable drugs across the border while law enforcement is distracted."
 
Reed said crime and insecurity in Central American countries have created conditions not unlike those found in war-ravaged nations.
 
The drug wars, and the violence that accompanies the pursuit of ill-gotten gains, largely are to blame for people fleeing, he said.
 
There’s "money to be had for criminals, and especially when you start bringing in organized and very capable Mexican crime groups into Central America, it sort of helps organize and fuel these drug wars even more," Reed said.
 
Poverty and lack of economic opportunity in some Central American countries help explain why parents there would risk sending their children alone on the long journey across Mexico with the goal of crossing into the United States.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lawrence Bush from: Kennebonkport, Texas
June 21, 2014 7:34 AM
The unauthorised immigrants are posing grave problems for America.....that relate to drugs transportation, smuggling, illegal human traffickings, spies as well as terror. After 9/11 incidents, I had humbly drawn august attention of our then president to strictly closing, monitoring and vigilling our our two common borders with our northern neighbor Canada and the southern Mexico. That was done along with massive revamption of our homeland security. After the illegal migrants enter crossing our borders in the north or south, the responsibility comes upon our border states as well the federal govt. So, our immigration laws should be strctly enforced for curbing all such illegal immigrations into our federal territory. Undocumented minors or the dangerous wolves in gentle garbs...... everyone must be taken as per our American laws. The menace of drugs and terror is posing a grave commination to us. Drugs do spoil our youth... our citizens.....And, about terror - we have got a great deal of brunts and lessons. After 9/11 incidents, our president had declared - war on terror. That is valid till todate watching the situations world over......... and; the very epithet of War on drugs and narcotics must be there........ therefore, for America, our borders, our immigration laws relating to our bordering states and federal governmemt should be strictest.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid