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.
    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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.