The new head of Customs and Border Protection said on Wednesday that the Obama administration’s leniency on deportations and deferred action programs have contributed to the increase in the number of illegal immigrant children crossing the country’s southern border.
Gil Kerlikowske told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee that the agency’s “facilities are not designed to hold these large numbers, nor are our ports of entry.” Therefore, border patrol agents should not spend their time babysitting foreign children from south of the border.
“The deferred action, the family unification, is an issue,” Kerlikowske said, according to CQ Roll Call. “But I’ve also looked at the surveys of some of these people who were talked to back in 2013. … The crime and the gang issues in their own country are a push-out — sometimes there’s family violence also.” He added, “And then of course there’s the economic incentive to come to America, which has always been there. But I certainly understand this issue of family reunification being a part of what is really a complex problem.”
According to reports, the number of “immigrant children entering the United States has spiked from about 6,000 in fiscal 2011 to roughly 34,000 in fiscal 2013,” and officials estimate that around 60,000 more “will have entered by the end of fiscal 2014.”
Rep. John Carter (R-TX) said that though he recognizes and is sympathetic “to the humanitarian obligations we give these young victims,” Congress “cannot ignore that politics are creating a gravitational pull so strong that parents are willing to support vile criminal networks and to place their precious children in harm’s way.”
In a year that many have said would be the last chance to pass immigration legislation, Democrats and pro-amnesty advocates are pressuring Obama to enact more executive orders–perhaps for illegal immigrants who serve in the military and the parents of DREAMers–to ease deportations.
Breitbart News previously reported that “parents in Central American countries may be sending their children to illegally cross the U.S. border into Texas after hearing that Democrats and Republicans are pushing for more laws granting amnesty to illegal immigrant minors.”
Immigration officials told the Los Angeles Times that “up to 120 unaccompanied youths are arriving each day.” Breitbart News has chronicled why illegal immigrant children have had every reason to believe the odds of permanently remaining in the United States will be in their favor if they enter the country. First, “Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that those who came to the United States before 2013 should be eligible for amnesty.” Additionally, “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been pushing for his version of the DREAM Act.” Furthermore, “amnesty advocates have been calling on President Barack Obama to not only stop deportations but also expand the Deferred Action program that he enacted through executive action to also include the parents of the children of illegal immigrants.”