Illegal Immigrants ‘Free Pass’ Humanitarian Crisis Draws Resources Away From Other Issues

Guatemalan and Honduran Migrants found near McAllen, Texas by Border Patrol Credit: Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times

News about illegal immigrants entering the United States in record numbers daily continues to be reported, as the numbers are expected to climb.  While reports are focused on record numbers of children entering the country alone, many are accompanied by their parents.

Surge in Illegal Immigration

The significant increase in migrants crossing into the United States illegally has caused a growing concern over what is now being called a humanitarian crisis.  It’s reported that the U.S. Custom and Border Protection has apprehended 52,193 children, an average of 205 per day between October 1, 2013 and June 15, 2014.

Fred Burton, a former U.S. State Department Counter-Terrorism Agent, who currently serves as Vice President of Intelligence at Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, discussed the crisis with KT McFarland, Fox News National Security Analyst.  Border apprehensions, as explained by Burton, is actually as of June, at 1, 100 per day.

Burton says he was told by one law enforcement official Friday, “Many of these individuals in numbers 50 to 100 are crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States and just waiting for the U.S. border control to pick them up.”

The federal government has been criticized for weak border controls along the southern border.  Burton says it has the potential to hurt U.S. national security.

“We have absolutely no idea how many others [not appended] are getting through. The influx of these large volumes of migrants is causing resources to draw away from the issues... like counter counter-terrorism [surveillance].”

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security officials are hurrying to open additional detention centers meant for families with children caught coming illegally to this country. Officials are also going to increase the use of such monitoring devices as electronic ankle bracelets, in order to keep track of migrants once they are released.

In a recent New York Times article: U.S. Moves to Stop Surge in Illegal Immigration, it was reported that White House officials are saying that misinformation about administration policies is what aided a stream of illegal migrants across the South Texas border from Central America.  On Friday, plans were announced to detain more of them and to accelerate their court cases in order to deport them more quickly.

Friday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met in Guatemala with chief leaders of the three countries where most of the migrants come from — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — in order to secure their assistance with passing along the communication which makes it clear there are no new legal routes to come to the United States.  The message to be spread is that those crossing illegally will be deported.

The New York Times reported that the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, passed on attending the meeting in order to watch Honduras play in the World Cup in Brazil.  Tension has been growing with Honduras over public complaints by Mr. Hernández concerning what he sees as a lack of American will to help restrict the violence from a drug war he believes is caused by American consumption habits.

During the meeting with Guatemala’s president, Otto Pérez Molina; the president of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; and senior officials from Honduras and Mexico, Mr. Biden experienced a disconnect that the United States often has endured.  The regional leaders fault the failure of American immigration policy for driving children to join their parents in the United States no matter the cost.

In Mr. Pérez Molina public remarks, although acknowledging that the American Congress has to act, restated a request for a temporary worker program and a way for Guatemalans living in the United States illegally to be able to stay.

In his response, Mr. Biden instead highlighted the social causes of the migration.

“The United States recognizes that a key part of the solution to this problem is to address the root causes of this immigration in the first place,” he said, turning to address Mr. Pérez Molina directly several times.  “Especially poverty, insecurity and the lack of the rule of law, so the people can stay and thrive in their own communities, so a parent doesn’t feel so desperate that they put their child in the hands of a criminal network and say take him, and take her to the United States.”

Meantime; the administration is attempting to suppress widespread rumors reaching Central America that American border authorities are offering ‘free pass’ entry permits to parents traveling with young children after they are caught.  Officials are hopeful that by raising the numbers of detained, then deported migrants, others who might consider such a hike will instead be discouraged from doing so.

Credit: Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times

Previously, White House officials had believed extreme poverty and an epidemic of gang violence in Central American countries were the key reasons for the unexpected surge in illegal migration.  But, numerous immigrants are telling Border Patrol agents they just decided to head for the United States once they heard the U.S. was offering some type of entry permit.

United States Children Living in Poverty

While officials are busy trying to figure out how to keep up with anticipated new arrivals, very little is being reported on the existing poverty in this country.  But, there are vital organizations which do track and maintain data on children and families affected by poverty every day in the United States.  The NCCP (National Center for Children in Poverty) is one such reporting organization.

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