News / USA

US: No Path to Citizenship for Illegal Child Immigrants

FILE - This June 18, 2014, file photo shows children detainees sleeping in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.
FILE - This June 18, 2014, file photo shows children detainees sleeping in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville,Texas.
VOA News
The United States is telling Central American parents there is no path to American citizenship for the thousands of unaccompanied children who are entering the U.S. illegally in hopes of escaping poverty and crime in their native lands.

In an open letter to parents published in Spanish-language outlets over the weekend, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said no permits to stay in the U.S. are being granted to the 47,000 children who have crossed into the country this year.

Most of the children have come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, traveling through Mexico to the southwestern border of the U.S.

Johnson said the U.S. is seeking to deport the children, although they currently are being held in several U.S. facilities while their cases are considered by U.S. immigration judges.

Johnson did not say so in the letter, but some of the children could be allowed to stay if their parents are already in the U.S.

He said "the desire to see a child have a better life in the United States is understandable," but he said the risks of illegal migration "are far too great."

The Homeland Security chief warned the parents that it is dangerous to send their children on the long journey to the U.S., and that criminal smuggling networks have no regard for their safety. He said that for the smugglers, "your child is a commodity to be exchanged for a payment."

An estimated 11 million illegal immigrants are already in the U.S. and immigration policies are politically contentious. Last year, the Senate approved reforms that could over years allow many of the illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens, but the legislation has languished in the House of Representatives and no votes on reforms have been scheduled.

Johnson said only children who arrived in the U.S. before mid-2007 are eligible to stay.

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by: cole from: Maryland
June 30, 2014 9:12 PM
We alreadt have enough problems caring and jobs and food for legal american citizens. If u walk into a social services 90% of people getting assistance are foriegn usually Mexican descent. Americans need help. If they were no causing financial hardship and embrace american life and live lawful and pay taxes and contibute to our community that is one thing. But to come hete live off welfare have many babies and commut crimes is unacceptable also ENGLISH is out language learn it if we go to Mexico to live do we get help n welfare and language help? NO


by: markgood
June 25, 2014 10:14 AM
These children immigrating from Central America will be a blessing for this country. In the short term, their consumption of food, clothing, housing, and electronic games will help the local economy where they will live. They will also provide jobs for teachers, school officials, and healthcare workers. As they grow and study, they will become members of the armed forces, college educated, or technically skilled workers, that our country will need as the Baby Boomers retire. They will pay into Social Security, Medicare, and federal taxes for many years. They will not grow up to bomb marathons or become jihadists. Western European countries can only dream about getting young immigrants like these, instead of the ones they get from North Africa and Pakistan.

In Response

by: Barnesman from: Georgia
June 25, 2014 11:22 AM
I can't figure out if you are really serious because the racist comment you ended with made me think you can't be that foolish. But I guess you are. Somehow Latin America's poor are a boon to the U.S. and the poor of other nations are a problem for western civilization. No doubt where your roots lie.

The truth is Latinos have the highest high school dropout rate of any group in America. and illegal households, through their U.S. children, are the largest percentage group using U.S. welfare. So much for your "Our poverty is better then their poverty" rant.

Deport all illegals equally and without discrimination.


by: Debbie Martin from: Watauga TX
June 25, 2014 7:56 AM
SEND the kids back to Mexico they are not our responsiblity. Take care of Americans who work, pay taxes, pay bills and take of our families. I am sick of paying for freeloaders and the government spending and caring more for other countries that are not our problem. I would bet that Mexico wouldn't feed, house and clothe our children. ENOUGH

In Response

by: Anonymous
June 30, 2014 12:06 AM
Can you really blame these children for trying to flee from their problems though? They don't have enough money to legally immigrate to the U.S. and they look to us being the world super power for help. It's not fair to the taxpayers that the U.S. is less concerned about OUR economy and more involved in other countries,but these kids can't be the victims of harsh adult decisions. All they want is a better life.

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