What is the reason for the surge in children coming across the border? Is it a 2008 law? Is it the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which allows some youngsters to stay in the U.S.? Is it that smugglers are spreading rumors that children can stay in the U.S.?
The answer is “yes” to all of the above.
Let us start with the 2008 law. Among the last laws signed by President Bush, this law gave special treatment to children who cross the border without a parent. Children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are given special status. Its sponsor said it was not meant to “game” the system by giving kids a foolproof way to stay in the U.S. The law was meant to help protect youngsters from sex trafficking and violence.
The law requires the children to be seen by a judge before they can be sent back to their homeland. There is a huge backlog in the courts. This has resulted in many fewer deportations of youngsters.
President Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the summer of 2012. It allows children who came here with parents to stay in the U.S. for work and school.
Rumors in Central America say children who arrive in the U.S. will be able to stay. Smugglers play a big role by spreading the rumors. They profit by charging parents thousands of dollars to get their kids to America.
Every year since the 2008 law was signed, fewer children are being returned.
The administration is trying to stop the flow into the country. They are sending judges and officials to border states to hear cases. So far, nothing is working.
The President is asking the Congress to give him $2 billion to address the problem. He may try to change the 2008 law. Resources and patience are stretched thin.
Source: The Los Angeles Times July 5, 2014