Central American Newspapers Encouraging Minors to Enter US Illegally
Thousands of illegal immigrants flooding the U.S.-Mexico border are overwhelming federal resources and facilities. Word-of-mouth and news reports that U.S. Border Patrol agents are giving perceived amnesty to children migrants has apparently spread in Central America and may be prompting more hopefuls to make the dangerous journey north.
La Prensa, a popular newspaper in Honduras with a circulation of more than 60,000 units, recently released a report called "U.S. military base in California used to house juveniles."
A translation from Spanish to English shows that the La Prensa report reads, "According to authorities today announced the base, the [children] will be accommodated between 3 and 4 months, while their parents or relatives in the United States responsible for their care are [located]."
It continued, "During your stay, plus accommodation and food, children receive English classes, play sports and participate in targeted programs while immigration authorities contact their families. According to the Department of Homeland Security in 2013, 88% of children met with a family who took care of them after spending an average of 40 days under the responsibility of the authorities...The costs of accommodation and other activities of children, including cleanliness and maintenance of facilities and equipment and repairs, among others, are the responsibility of the DHS. All minors who have entered illegally, but are allowed to remain in the country, also initiate a legal process that will decide their stay or deportation."
Newsmax pointed out that Diario El Mundo, a paper in El Salvador, recently reported that U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said, "Almost all agree that a child who crossed the border illegally with their parents, or in search of a father or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than Adult violators of the law."
It is easy to surmise that such reports emerging from Central America, some of which make U.S. processing facilities sound comfortable and enjoyable, could encourage more Honduras children to make the trip to the U.S.
Sylvia Longmire, a Breitbart Texas contributing editor and border security expert, said, "Many Americans don't understand the power of word-of-mouth in Latin America; it's like gossip in a small American town times ten. Word about anything, especially friends or family members going though the northbound migration or southbound deportation process, spreads very quickly."
"As immigrant detention policies are slowly changing in places like south Texas in order to accommodate spiking numbers of border crossings and subsequent illegal immigrant apprehensions, word is spreading about these changes," she continued. "Now that DHS doesn't want to split up families and is releasing so many non-criminal illegal immigrants with only orders to return in 15 days for a court hearing, those bring released are calling home."
Ultimately, the sharp increase in illegal immigration, which has been called a "humanitarian crisis," will likely only get worse as word of detention practices spreads throughout Central America.
Instead of dealing with the root of the border crisis, Washington's solution has been to throw money at the problem for a quick fix.
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski told a panel, "This is a humanitarian crisis, and we have to go to the edge of our chairs to at least get the estimate for fiscal ’15...our failure to appropriate could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis."
New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen reportedly added, "Rather than worrying about the silos where the money comes from, we need to think about what we can do that’s right for the kids."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.