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.

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs