Feds see surge in children crossing US border amid concerns over - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Feds see surge in children crossing US border amid concerns over immigration policy

Posted: Updated:

The number of children caught crossing the U.S. border has surged over the last two years, raising questions about whether the Obama administration's changing immigration policies are creating a magnet. 


You might also like...

HOT: Wife's Dying Wish for Husband's New Family!!!!!

WTF: Africa AIDS Tweet Firestorm!!!

HOHOHO: Santa’s Salary $138K!?!

SHOCK: Bull Sharks Caught Near DC!!!!

CRASH: Cop Car Wreck at 'Transformer' Filming!!!!!


Like us on Facebook

Statistics released late last week show 24,668 "unaccompanied alien children" were placed last year in the care of the federal agency that, by law, is responsible for them. That's nearly double the number from 2012, and nearly quadruple the number in years past. 

As is often the case with immigration statistics, it's unclear what is driving the increase. The surge could be driven in part by better enforcement, and immigration officers doing a better job catching border crossers.

But critics point to other factors. A federal judge in Texas claimed earlier this month that the Department of Homeland Security has been delivering children smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border to their illegal immigrant parents. In June 2012, the administration decided to give a reprieve to young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. 

Critics say these policies send a clear message south of the border: The rewards of trying to cross into the U.S. outweigh the risks. 

Chris Crane, who heads The National ICE Council immigration officer union, said agents are being "overrun" with children crossing the border. 

"We can't keep up with it," he said. 

According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, most of the minors come from Central America -- largely Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. 

The stats show a big spike over the last two years. The office recorded an "unprecedented increase" in 2012, with the number jumping from an average of 6,775 to 13,625. 

The numbers refer to children who are intercepted by the Department of Homeland Security. Under federal law, many of those children are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, within the Department of Health and Human Services. 

They are supposed to be entered into immigration proceedings, though Judge Andrew Hanen questioned, in his Dec. 13 order, whether this was necessarily happening, particularly in cases where minors were reunited with their parents. 

Most of the children are housed through a network of federally funded care centers. But as the traffic increases, those are becoming over-burdened. The situation drew national attention in 2012 when Lackland Air Force Base in Texas was used to house dozens of children. 

The children can in some cases be placed with relatives. But Hanen, in his Dec. 13 order, claimed the practice is going too far. He accused the government of effectively aiding the drug cartels which play a big role in human smuggling rings and claimed the practice is "encouraging" more smuggling. (It's unclear to what extent the ORR statistics count those who are transported to their parents in the U.S.). 

Some of the children who cross illegally into the U.S. can petition for legal status. According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, those seeking asylum or who can demonstrate they were abused or abandoned by their parents in their native country can be eligible. Non-profits sometimes provide legal representation for these individuals. One such group, Kids in Need of Defense, notes that many are escaping "abuse or persecution" in coming to the U.S. 

While dealing with the influx of children and teens crossing the border, the Obama administration has tried to prioritize deportations for those who have committed crimes while in the U.S. -- while going easy on so-called "DREAM Act"-style cases. 

Hanen wrote that his court is "not blind to the needs of a minor child," and recognizes the right of prosecutors to use their "discretion" in such cases. 

However, he wrote, "those who hear that they should not fear prosecution or deportation will not hesitate, and obviously have not hesitated, to [violate immigration law]."   

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Dutch scramble jets after Russian bombers approach

    Dutch scramble jets after Russian bombers approach

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:59 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:59:23 GMT
    AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The Dutch defense department says several NATO member countries scrambled jets Wednesday afternoon after a pair of Russian bomber planes approached their airspace over the North Sea. The Dutch ministry identified the planes as two Russian TU-95 Bears, and said it had launched two F-16s from Volkel air force base to intercept them. The Russian jets were escorted by aircraft from the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark until they departed. Maj. Wilko Ter Horst said "that's why w...
    AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The Dutch defense department says several NATO member countries scrambled jets Wednesday afternoon after a pair of Russian bomber planes approached their airspace over the North Sea. The Dutch ministry identified the planes as two Russian TU-95 Bears, and said it had launched two F-16s from Volkel air force base to intercept them. The Russian jets were escorted by aircraft from the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark until they departed. Maj. Wilko Ter Horst said "that's why w...
  • Study: Naps linked with higher risk of death

    Study: Naps linked with higher risk of death

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:50:30 GMT
    New research shows middle-age and older adults who take naps may be at increased risk of dying. Experts discovered naps were linked with an increased risk of dying from respiratory diseases.
    New research shows middle-age and older adults who take naps may be at increased risk of dying. Experts discovered naps were linked with an increased risk of dying from respiratory diseases.
  • America's middle class falling behind

    America's middle class falling behind

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:49:33 GMT
    America's middle class has always been known as the most affluent in the world. But, that may not be the case anymore. A new study finds that our country's middle class has stalled. According to the New York Times, in 2010, Canada and America were at a dead heat for median income.
    America's middle class has always been known as the most affluent in the world. But, that may not be the case anymore. A new study finds that our country's middle class has stalled. According to the New York Times, in 2010, Canada and America were at a dead heat for median income.
Powered by WorldNow

205 N. Michigan Avenue
Ground Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Station Operator: (312) 565-5532
Newsroom: (312)565-5533

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices