The deluge of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally is “compromising” the government’s ability to combat other border threats and has been incentivized by government policies, according to a leaked internal draft memo from Deputy Chief of Border Patrol Ronald D. Vitiello.
“Specifically, the large quantity of DHS interdiction, intelligence, investigation, processing, detention and removal resources currently being dedicated to address [unaccompanied alien children] is compromising DHS capabilities to address other transborder criminal areas, such as human smuggling and trafficking, and illicit drug, weapons, commercial and financial operations,” Vitiello’s memo, obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies and viewed by Breitbart News, reads.
“Insufficient attention to these mission areas will have immediate and potentially long lasting impacts on criminal enterprise operations within the Rio Grande Valley and across the country,” it adds.
The document is dated May 30, titled “Unaccompanied Alien Children Transfer Process Bottleneck,” and reveals that DHS expects the number of UAC apprehensions this fiscal year to be greater than 90,100 and next fiscal year to be 142,000.
Vitiello writes that the “urgency” to deal with the overcrowding in detention facilities is causing the level of enforcement and repercussions for illegal entry to deteriorate.
“The current urgency to alleviate dangerous overcrowding in DBP detention facilities is resulting in the necessary delivery of suboptimal consequences for illegal entry,” he wrote. “If the US government fails to deliver adequate consequences to deter aliens from attempting to illegally enter the US, the result will be an even greater increase in the rate of recidivism and first time illicit entries.”
Vitiello further noted that certain government policies are serving as additional incentives for illegal entry.
“Releasing other than Mexican family units, credible fear claims, and low-threat aliens on their own recognizance, along with facilitating family reunification of UAC in lieu of repatriation to their country of citizenship, serve as incentives for additional individuals to follow the same path,” Vitiello wrote.
“To stem the flow, adequate consequences must be delivered for illegal entry into the US and for facilitating human smuggling, either as a direct member of an illicit alien smuggling organization or as a private facilitator. These consequences must be delivered both at the border and within the interior US, e.g. through expanded ICE Homeland Security Investigations to target individuals facilitating UAC and family unit travel to the US,” the memo reads.
In a statement CBP told Breitbart News that “the draft memo appears to be an internal, incomplete working document, neither signed nor made official.”
CBP’s statement noted that while apprehensions of Mexicans have slightly increased over last year the number of apprehensions from countries other than Mexico, specifically Central America has increased by 50 percent. Vitiello’s memo notes that currently just 3 percent of apprehensions from countries other than Mexico, predominantly Central American countries, are being repatriated to their countries of origin, as there are limited flights back.
“Significant border-wide investments in additional enforcement resources and enhanced operational tactics and strategy have enabled CBP to address the changing composition of attempted border crossers, but the rising flow of unaccompanied children and family units into the Rio Grande Valley present unique operational and resource challenges for CBP and HHS,” the CBP statement contined, going to note President Obama’s interagency Unified Coordination Group led by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate to deal with the influx.
In announcing the interagency Unified Coordination Group this week, President Obama declared the surge of UACs an “urgent humanitarian situation.”
Meanwhile Obama’s immigration critics have pointed the finger of blame for the deluge at Obama himself.
“This is a direct result of the President’s statements that he was not going to enforce the law with regard to people who entered the country as youngsters. It’s an open invitation for others to come. What he has done in the last months, aided by members of Congress, is to create the impression that no one is going to be deported, and especially young people who come into the country are not going to be deported. So they are focusing way too much on attempting to cope with the flood of young people coming into the country and not nearly enough on reducing the flow,” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said this week.