As the humanitarian crisis continues along the U.S-Mexico Border, officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) say that 22,000 minors “illegally crossed the border” in December. Nearly 25 percent of those were unaccompanied.
“Vulnerable populations are embarking on the dangerous journey north in record numbers putting themselves and minors in harm’s way, last month 22,000 minors illegally crossed our borders,” DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a written statement. Of those, approximately 5,000 cross the border without a parent or guardian as Unaccompanied Alien Children, she said.
During the first three months of Fiscal Year 2019, more than 15,000 children crossed the border without parents. It is not clear how many minors in total crossed the border during this period, but in the first two months of the new fiscal year, nearly 60,000 crossed as unaccompanied minors or family units, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s November Southwest Border Migration Report.
“The lack of a physical barrier coupled with major loopholes from badly written laws and a terrible ruling from the Ninth Circuit act a magnet for family units and unaccompanied alien children,” Waldman said. “Congress must act to fund the border wall, amend the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act, and terminate the Ninth Circuit’s Flores Settlement Agreement to stop the cycle of illegal immigration.”
The massive increase in minors crossing the border led to what is now being called a humanitarian crisis by U.S. officials. The increases in border crossings by families and minors have resulted in a “significant” number of referrals for medical treatment because of the stress of the journey, crowded conveyances, and the current flu season, government officials stated.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis on the southern border that is putting the most vulnerable populations at risk. 129 children under the age of five have been referred for emergency medical care in the last week. The care of those in CBP custody is paramount, and the United States Border Patrol is doing everything in its power to handle this crisis.”
“The status quo is not acceptable,” the commissioner said. “As [DHS Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen has stated, the system is at the breaking point. Border Patrol stations built decades ago are not resourced to handle this crisis and are not the best facilities to house children with their parents for extended periods.”
During the last week of the year, CBP referred 451 cases to medical providers, the agency reported. Of those, 129 were children under the age of five and 88 were between the ages of six and fourteen. The remaining 42 aged between 15 and 17, officials reported. These referrals resulted in at least 17 hospitalizations for illness.
Officials reported these numbers for the period beginning on December 22 and ending on December 30. They cautioned that these are “operations reporting” numbers and could change on a daily basis.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face