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,” a number that “has tripled over the last five years and that by some estimates could soon reach 60,000 a year.” Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents “apprehended more than 21,000 minors traveling without families on a roughly 315-mile stretch of the Rio Grande that runs west from Harlingen to the south of Laredo. That was more than half the total of 38,833 detained nationwide.”
Immigration activists have said that most of the minors–originating from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador–are fleeing the violence related to drug cartels and other gangs. But, “changes in U.S. policy to expand legal residence opportunities in the U.S. for undocumented youth,” also accounts for the rapid surge during the last three years–forcing U.S. officials to scramble to “find housing and medical care for the young immigrants.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection must “turn over unaccompanied youths within 72 hours to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which places them in shelters while attempting to locate family or other sponsors with whom they can live while their immigration cases are being adjudicated.” Those from Mexico are returned immediately, “If they have no credible fear of persecution, are not trafficking risks, and are considered capable of making independent decisions.” In many cases, minors that are allowed to stay in the country are “transferred out of shelters and into homes within about a month.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that those who came to the United States before 2013 should be eligible for amnesty. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been pushing for his version of the DREAM Act. 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.
As Breitbart News has reported, the House GOP’s immigration principles state that though there “will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future,” one of the “great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home.”
If, as Breitbart News noted, one of the “great founding principles of the country, according to the House GOP leadership, is that “children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” then it will be difficult to have a “zero tolerance” policy for anyone–including children–who come to the country illegally. That is a point that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Council President Kenneth Palinkas made in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and why opponents of amnesty believe that any legislation granting generous pathways to citizenship will result in perpetual amnesty for children who enter the United States illegally.
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