Border Crisis – Why The Masses Are Coming

In my June 17 E-Letter, I focused on the border crisis in South Texas. Today’s post is an update. The government now admits that it has seen 52,000 unaccompanied illegal children cross our border this year and expects that number to reach at least 90,000 by year-end. It’s a true humanitarian crisis! The government will not release numbers on the total number of illegal aliens that have come across this year.

What is interesting about this crisis is that three-fourths of all these illegals are coming from three Central American countries – El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Relatively few are from Mexico. These people face grave dangers along the apprx. 2,000-mile trip and hundreds have lost their lives doing so.

The question is, why has this mass migration exploded this year? Some say it’s because of rampant gang-related crime and drug cartels in their home countries – and that is part of it. But the bottom line is that they are coming because they believe they will be allowed to stay here and eventually become US citizens. Of course, under current immigration law, that is simply not true. So why do they believe that?

Here’s my take on it. On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting young illegal aliens who meet certain criteria previously proposed under the so-called “DREAM ACT” which never passed. But the Dream Act was intended for illegals up to age 35 that were already living here.

Based on what I have read about interviews with these illegals, most believe that the Dream Act is the law, and that it applies to them. So they not only believe they can cross the border, they also believe there is a pathway to citizenship. But do we believe that these illegals, many of whom are young children, came to this conclusion on their own? Not likely!

Based on some information I ran across just this week, it is highly likely that officials in their home countries are encouraging them to come to America because they do not believe President Obama will deport them. These same officials also know that if these young people actually do get into the US, they will eventually send a lot of the money they make back to their home countries.


Money sent back to their home countries is referred to as “remittances” and can have huge positive impacts on their struggling economies. According to World Bank data, remittances to El Salvador accounted for 16.5% of its GDP in 2012. See also the numbers for Honduras and Guatemala. No wonder they want their young people going to America! No wonder that 75% of the current illegals flooding the border are from these three countries!

The question is, what is the Obama administration going to do with them? Current immigration law provides that illegals from Mexico are to be deported back to their home within 48 hours.

But if the children come from a non-contiguous country – like El Salvador and others – the government must treat them entirely differently.

First, the Border Patrol must hand them over to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR must “engage the services of child welfare professionals to act as child advocates and make recommendations regarding custody, detention, release and removal, based upon the best interest of each child,” according to a summary of the law.

Second, ORR must ensure that any detained child is “placed in the least restrictive setting possible.” It must also provide home studies (schooling) to facilitate placement with relatives in the US (if any) or other families. ORR must also provide pro bono legal services to the children in their quest to stay here.

The problem is that our Border Patrol and the ORR were never designed to handle a mass influx. As noted above, the administration’s own estimate is that 90,000 will come this year. If they continue to let these young people stay here, the number will almost certainly grow even larger next year.

President Obama said earlier this week that the children crossing the border “are being apprehended but the problem is that our system is so broken, so unclear, that folks don’t know what the rules are.”

It would be more accurate to say that until we strictly enforce current immigration laws and seal our borders, large numbers of illegals from Central America will continue to come here. The leaders of these countries know it, and they desperately need those remittances. The parents know it and want a better life for their children.

President Obama desperately wants a comprehensive new immigration law that lets them all stay here (despite what he says to the contrary), and he vowed this week to do it by Executive Order and completely bypass Congress if need be.

Happy Independence Day everyone!!!

Posted 07-03-2014 12:31 PM by Gary D. Halbert
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