Since May 18, the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas has been home to 1,000 illegal immigrant children, according to a report by the San Antonio Express-News. The decision to utilize the base comes as an overwhelming number of young people have been caught crossing the Mexican/U.S. border during recent months.
Children and teens brought to Lackland will be provided with education, foster care programs, and “behavioral treatment centers.” The projected cost of such programs, as well as the cost of the housing, has not been disclosed to U.S. taxpayers.
The federal government was forced to utilize Lackland as its own facilities can no longer accommodate the number of illegal immigrants waiting to be processed, reports state.
At the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector alone, more than 1,000 illegal immigrants are being apprehended per day.
RGV Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Tirado told Breitbart Texas that his sector is overwhelmed with the number of illegal immigrants that currently need to be processed. “We’re catching an average of 1,000 per day and our agents are processing them around the clock. Processing takes between one to two hours per individual–it varies case by case,” he said.
Tirado’s sector has been so overwhelmed, in fact, that 100 illegal immigrants were recently transported via plane to El Paso for processing.
The number of children crossers, in particular, has spiked along the Texas border.
According to the Express-News, more than 60,000 unaccompanied children are expected to illegally cross into the United States this year–that figure is substantially up from 2011, when only about 6,500 minors crossed.
Reports state that academics and government officials are “stumped” as to why there has been such a steep incline of illegal crossers along the border. Some cite safety concerns.
Breitbart Texas has been reporting on the increasingly dangerous environments in Mexico and Central America countries, where it has become common for individuals to be murdered for no fault of their own. Many children are killed for refusing to join dangerous street gangs.
Breitbart Texas’ contributing editor and border expert, Sylvia Longmire said, “It’s so difficult for many Americans to really comprehend the horrible situation these families and children find themselves in every single day, because we don’t have to worry about our own children being forcibly recruited into these lethal gangs.”
Tirado added that many immigrants cross illegally in search of a better life, telling Breitbart Texas, “We don’t know exactly why there has been an influx of people. People are coming to look for a better life.”
Others believe that the spike in crossers could be the result of the Obama Administration’s soft treatment and rhetoric surrounding illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, told Breitbart Texas, “Being an illegal alien is not a right to citizenship. When Vice President Biden says these kinds of things, that is just an invitation for foreign nationals to come up here. It’s time for the U.S to get serious about immigration. We can start by taking away their incentives to be here. All benefits: medical, food stamps, public housing, education, everything.”
Another factor in the increase of illegal immigration of minors could be tied to U.S. policies surrounding asylum.
Breitbart Texas reported in April about an increasingly popular trend along Texas’ southern border involves illegal immigrants flocking to the U.S., turning themselves in to Border Patrol officials, and then purporting to fear for their lives. Word has apparently spread throughout Central America that immigrants who take these steps have a good chance of obtaining asylum in the U.S.
The New York Times reported that the practice has caused “detention facilities, asylum offices and immigration courts [to be] overwhelmed.”
At this point, it is unclear how U.S. officials and facilities will keep up with the increasing number of immigrants crossing the border illegally. Unless significant policy changes are made, the number of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border illegally will likely continue to climb.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.