The Obama administration is pushing another awareness campaign to attempt to deter illegal immigration from Central America and Mexico.
Customs and Border Protection launched its “Know the Facts” campaign in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras late last month to discourage people from illegally immigrating north.
“This campaign is designed to educate would-be travelers in Central America and Mexico about the realities of the journey north—human smugglers have no regard for human life,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said in the formal roll out of the campaign Friday.
In recent months and years illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have flooded the U.S.-Mexico border believing they could stay in the U.S. and thinking that the “Notices to Appear” handed to them by immigration officials before being released into the interior of the U.S. were “permisos” or free passes.
And while many of the family units and unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. illegally have simply vanished into the interior of the country, the Obama administration is stressing in this campaign that there are no free passes into the U.S.
“It is critical that they are aware of the facts behind U.S. immigration policies before risking their lives. There are no ‘permisos,’” Kerlikowske said.
Last year, in response to the illegal immigration surge the administration launched a similar information campaign warning against making the journey. This year’s campaign includes Spanish-language audio, video, and pamphlet warnings for each of the four countries.
Complicating matters this time, however, is a late July court ruling calling for an end to detention of illegal immigrant family units. Last week the Justice Department pressed U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to reconsider her ruling.
The Associated Press reported that in the court filings last week, the administration argued against the ruling and pointed out that an end to family detention “would heighten the risk of another surge in illegal migration,” by “incentivizing adults to bring children with them on their dangerous journey as a means to avoid detention and gain access to the interior of the United States.”
Last year more than 68,400 family units and more than 68,541 unaccompanied minors were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. at the southern border. As of June 30, CBP reported apprehending 26,685 unaccompanied minors and 24,901 family units at the southern border.