Known as unaccompanied alien children, they are generally from Central America, are escaping poverty, abuse or dangerous gangs back home, and make the harrowing trek through Mexico and across the U.S. border.
The government expects more than 90,000 of the children to be apprehended on the U.S. side of the border this year and more than 140,000 to be caught next year. That doesn’t include the tens of thousands more who avoid capture.
As the numbers have spiked in recent weeks and border officials have struggled to keep up with the flow, Obama administration officials have declared it an “urgent humanitarian situation” and have tried to find ways to make the children’s lives easier once they get into the U.S.
The spike in children crossing the border without their parents has shaken the immigration debate. Some analysts say it’s proof that the southwestern border isn’t secure — and blame the influx on mixed messages from the Obama administration.
In a draft memo dated May 30, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald D. Vitiello warned that the all-hands-on-deck effort to manage the flow of children is distracting the Homeland Security Department from other critical parts of its mission, including going after gunrunners, drug smugglers and adult illegal immigrants.
He suggested the government needs to find ways to deter illegal crossings — chiefly by punishing those who cross.
Full article: Holder seeks legal team for children on border (Washington Times)