News / USA

Large Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Creates Huge Challenge

Large Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Creates Huge Challengei
Greg Flakus
July 12, 2014 2:47 AM
The tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who have come across the Mexican border into the US state of Texas in recent months seeking refuge from violence and poverty represent not only a legal problem -- but a humanitarian challenge for government officials and private charities in border cities. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, Texas, the crisis is likely to continue for many more months.
Large Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Creates Huge Challenge

The tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who have come across the Mexican border into the US state of Texas in recent months seeking refuge from violence and poverty represent not only a legal problem -- but a humanitarian challenge for government officials and private charities in border cities. The crisis is likely to continue for many more months.

The influx of immigrants from Central America has been driven by the belief that if children get to the US, they will be granted immediate refugee status. While that's not true, U.S. law does require that minors from countries that don't border the U.S. cannot be sent home without a deportation hearing.

Former Border Patrol agent Carl Henderson said processing asylum seekers has stretched the patrol's limited resources.
"Do they need more resources? Yes. Will that stop what is going on now? No, of course not, because these people are not trying to elude the Border Patrol, they are coming across and turning themselves in," he said.

Processing time

Henderson said the US does not provide children with immediate asylum, but the processing of most cases takes months -- during which time the children and any adult family member with them can remain.
"Agents I know now tell me they are having a lot of pseudo-families, pretend families. A guy is coming up and he runs into some children coming up and he says, 'Here is the deal: I will be your uncle or your dad and this way we all get released,'" said Henderson.
In the border city of McAllen, local churches, charities and government agencies are helping immigrants who have been released while awaiting a court hearing. A Catholic nun, Sister Norma, oversees operations.

"Ever since day one we had over 200 people that we helped and from then on, every day, it is 100, 150, 200 people that we help every single day differently," she said.
The city of McAllen alone could spend more than half a million dollars on this emergency by the end of the year.

Financial issues

Political Science professor Mark Jones at Houston's Rice University said immigration is a federal matter, and local governments therefore will seek reimbursement.
"All of them are going to be sending bills to President Obama, what we have to see, though, is whether the president will be paying those bills or will cities like McAllen, counties like Cameron and Hidalgo in the state of Texas, be stuck with the bill," said Jones.
The president's request for nearly four billion dollars in emergency funding is tied up in politics. But Jones said even with those funds, the government is likely to lose track of children who have been processed.
"The federal government does not have the resources nor does it want to spend the resources tracking children. It wants to spend its limited resources, say, looking for felons who are here illegally," he said.
Jones said immigration courts are overwhelmed and until there is an overall reform of the system, they may get little relief.


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Comment Sorting
by: Ian from: USA
July 13, 2014 6:02 PM
Mexico president Enrique Pena Nieto and Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina presumably held a joint press conference announcing a new program which will allow Guatemalan citizens to legally travel through Mexico in their effort to enter the United States illegally. The agreement grants Guatemalans 72 hours of legal status while they make their journey to the U.S.
If this is true , it is a blatant assault on our country .
We should immediately announce that we will deduct from the amount from the foreign aid to Mexico ( which is many hundred of millions) for the cost to process and send each illegal alien back .

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
July 13, 2014 4:33 AM
Erecting altitudinous wall across our common border with our southern neighbor Mexico is very very different in comparison with that of our friendly state Israel or in the war torn Afghanistan. The illegal entrants into our southern states that do border Mexico - in our governmental immigration legislations such a problem can be dealt with. Clearly, accurately defining a problem that is half solved. Our federal govt. must endeavor to act with Mexican govt.;and, the very south American states like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. In this problematic perview, our federal govt. and the govts. of the infiltrated states must collectvely think and act how this illegal infiltration menace can be curbed for ever. The central and the south Amercan states are not the volatile zones like Middle East or the AfPak sector in the south Asia that would warrant our defense showdown. The illegal migrants problem that we do face......... it is not like the Syrian civilians fleeing to the neighboring states like Jordan, Israel........... The undocumented children who do enter into ours ......for us, it is a humanitarian problem but thei very home states in the south America, from where this sort of exodus do take place........ may be, there do remain gang fights.... it is upto such govts. to solve their domestic crises instead of setting this sort of illegal migration trends into our territory thereby crating a humanitarian crisis that our govt., our people, our economy.......... to bear. And, certainly, there does remain laxity on behalf of our southern neighbor Mexico that acts as a conduit channel for these illegal immigrants into ours. The Mexican southern border that touches the central Amercan states should be properly vigiled, restricted against such illegal immigrations into the Mexican territory. In thi regard, our govt. has got to deal with Mexico as well as the very sources of illegal immigrations into ours.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 12, 2014 11:48 AM
Instead of arresting the illegals, and incarcerating them, give all the illegals (one way) bus tickets to Washington DC, Chicago IL, San Francisco, or Los Angeles California, with a hundred dollars to eat on.... (and then), the politicians just may speed up building the Mexican border fence?..... and if they send them back, or they come back, give them another (one way) bus ticket, it'd be a lot cheaper than dealing with them, wouldn't it be?..... Oh, give them a small English translation book too? ... that's humane?

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
July 12, 2014 11:17 AM
It is mindboggling as the illegal migrants of the South and Central American states do enter into my home state Texas en masse. To get them all under immigration laws has become problematic even. Our Governer, Rick Perry should have touch with our president and our federal govt. as this illegal immigration menace can be totally curbed......... The very states in the Central and South America, all these illegal migrants do enter into my state and our southern bordering states passing through our our southern neighbor Mexico, do nothing for this sort of exodus. And, the safe corridor the illegal migrants do avail through our neighborly state Mexico, the governmental authorities do nothing to stopping them from entering into our territory. Urgent actions are necessary to reverse this illegal trend as America is not a safe heaven for any kind of illegal immigrations.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 12, 2014 12:58 PM
Why can't the US government build the barrier walls like Israel does to seal the Mexican border once and for all, or build those (30) foot high blast-proof walls that US troops hid behind in Iraq and Afghanistan?.... Yea, that'd be better than forever supporting the Mexican border crossing illegals, wouldn't it be?

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