Illegal immigrants from Central America who are making the journey to the United States largely believe that they will be allowed to indefinitely remain in the United States once they surrender to Border Patrol agents because of changes in U.S. law.
The Associated Press interviewed migrants along the “primary migrant route north to the United States” in Mexico in places like Chiapas, and the migrants who were interviewed “uniformly said they decided to head north because they had heard that a change in U.S. law requires the Border Patrol to swiftly release children and their mothers and let them stay in the United States.”
They also believe that “women and children can safely surrender to authorities the moment they set foot in the U.S.” The AP reports that “has changed the calculus of tens of thousands of parents who no longer worry about their children finishing the dangerous trip north through Mexico with a potentially deadly multiday hike through the desert Southwest.”
Gladys Chinoy, a 14-year-old from Guatemala, said, “the United States is giving us a great opportunity because now, with this new law, we don’t have to try to cross the desert where so many people die. We can hand ourselves over directly to the authorities.”
Chinoy’s illegal immigrant mother, who is in New York, told the Associated Press that she sent for her daughter because she has heard “if she gets across she can stay here, that’s what you hear.”
“Now they say that all children need to do is hand themselves over to the Border Patrol,” she said.
On Tuesday, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the Obama administration has turned a “blind eye to the warning signs” of the border crisis that has been worsened by the Obama administration’s executive actions and promises of more.
“The tragic fact is these children are making a dangerous journey based on misinformation and the false promise of amnesty,” he said. “It is beyond dispute that such a narrative shapes behavior and encourages people to come to our country illegally.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that anyone from Central America who is not a legal expert will believe, because of the Obama administration’s actions and words, that they will be more likely to be granted amnesty than deported if they cross the border.