U.S. Southern Borders Overwhelmed By Children
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U.S. Southern Borders Overwhelmed By Children

It has long been apparent that U.S. borders are far from secure. Border patrol agents are stretched thin, especially along the southern states, dealing with illegal immigrants, human traffickers and smugglers, and the drug cartels. Now, there is a new problem with no easy solution: children teeming into the U.S., many under the age of 12. According to The Washington Times,

The flood of young children pouring across the southwestern border is worse than the administration has previously acknowledged, and efforts to deal with unaccompanied minors are overwhelming the Border Patrol, distracting it from going after smugglers and other illegal immigrants, according to an internal draft memo from the agency.

The four-page memo, authored by Deputy Border Patrol Chief Ronald D. Vitiello and dated May 30, contradicts the administration’s argument that the border is secure enough to begin legalizing current illegal aliens already in the U.S.

According to estimates in the memo, about 90,000 children have been apprehended by law enforcement so far in 2014, up from 40,000 in 2013. Of course, these numbers are only the children that were apprehended; there were no estimates for how many unaccompanied minors actually crossed the border. The children are coming from Mexico and Central America and cite poverty and violence as the reason they are seeking life in the U.S. The journey is exceedingly dangerous, especially for girls, who face sexual assault at a much higher rate than boys.

Breitbart News received leaked photos of processing centers in Texas, showing children “warehoused” in overcrowded conditions.

Breitbart Texas Border Expert and Contributing Editor Sylvia Longmire reviewed the photos.

“Given the deteriorating security and economic conditions in the Central American countries where most of these children and adult immigrants came from, it’s hard to understand how DHS didn’t see this coming,” Longmire said. “The trend towards increased cross-border movement towards south Texas and away from Arizona has been apparent; the trend of Central Americans starting to outnumber Mexican crossers has been apparent. Even worse is believing that DHS knew this was coming, but didn’t have the resources or ability to cut through bureaucratic red tape to prepare more quickly.

“Now the results of this mismanagement are thousands of individuals living in inhumane conditions for an indeterminate period of time, as well as exhausted and overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and CBP detention facilities,” Longmire continued. “The Obama administration’s band-aid fix has been to ship a good portion of these immigrants — many of whom are weak, emotionally vulnerable, sick, and confused — to other sectors as far as San Diego county in California and release them with no obligation other than to show up for a hearing in 15 days.

Longmire said this situation highlighted the terrible blight of poverty and violence in Mexico and Central America, and was “a humiliating example” of the failure of U.S. border security policies and planning.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which manages the largest re-settlement program (Migration and Refugee Services or MRS) in the world has a program for unaccompanied minors. They seek to place children in foster care through the network of Catholic Charities across the country, along with managing advocacy programs that address the unique needs of these children. Often, these children face post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse issues, malnutrition, depression and other health issues. It is also common that the children have little or no formal education. The handbook outlining the principles of this program states:

USCCB/MRS policy and program initiatives particularly focus on the protection needs of unaccompanied displaced children. We specialize in the intersection between migration and child permanency, international protection, and integration. We build the capacity of agencies nationally and internationally to respond to the emerging needs of refugees, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable migrating populations.

For more than thirty years, the URM program has assisted children and youth in need of third country resettlement as well as those in mixed migration flows in need of protection. We value the role the program has played in the lives of thousands of children and youth.

At this point, officials say they have no way to stop the flow of unaccompanied children into the U.S. other than reaching out to the countries of origin for these children. Obviously, this isn’t working for anyone, least of all the children.

Read “Surge in kids illegally crossing into U.S. alone strains Border Patrol” at The Washington Times.

Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.