Only Five Months Into the Year, Projected Annual 60,000 Minor Children Border Crossings Exceeded

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

May 23, 2014

In my April 1 blog, I wrote about the alarming increase in unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors perilously crossing into the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that in 2014, about 60,000 children will be apprehended making the dangerous trip, an increase of 815 percent over the last three years.

Only five months into the year, the projected 60,000 has already been exceeded. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen said at the time that because border agents can’t keep up with the spike in unaccompanied minors’ crossings, DHS resorts to “delivering the minors to the custody of the parent illegally living in the United States.”  Some minors travel from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala on an arduous journey that takes them through Mexico and into Texas.

A mere six weeks after my blog posted, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the Rio Grande Valley to declare a “level-four condition of readiness,” the highest condition for agencies involved in taking care of young unaccompanied minors. Level-four alerts allow DHS to petition the Department of Defense for resources to help handle the growing crisis.

The Pentagon told Johnson they would make the 1,000 bed facility at Lackland Air Force Base available for four months while the children are being processed. This step will likely be an intermediate, inadequate one since the White House continues to encourage more illegal immigration.

A big spike in border crossing attempts by minors and adults is exactly what to expect when the federal government rolls out the red carpet for illegal immigrants. During the three years that unaccompanied minors have been pouring across the border, the White House has loosened rules on deportations which create a quasi-amnesty for aliens already in the U.S. and serves as a beacon worldwide to would-be illegal immigrants. Through the smugglers’ global underground network that prospective illegal immigrants foolishly  tap into, the word is out: if you can get to the U.S., you’ll be home free.     

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