Louisville, KY- Even though President Obama insists his immigration policies are working, there is a crisis at the border as thousands of immigrant children man of them unaccompanied by their parents are inundating the Southern Border. Obama’s critics and opponents of immigration reform say the massive waves of immigrant children are a direct result of the president’s immigration policies.
Since October 47,000 children have been detained at the border, a colossal increase over previous years. In contrast, only 12,000 immigrant children were detained at the border in the entire 2012 fiscal year. The president has labeled this a major humanitarian crisis and dispatched FEMA to help house and feed children. He has also pledged $2 million dollars to help pay for immigration attorneys to represent the children.
So, why the increase?
To his most vocal critics, this influx of immigrant children are a direct result of the Obama’s immigration policies. House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) says the crisis is “administration-made” according to NBC news. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said the administration “is signaling to everyone in the world: if you come here by a certain age you will get amnesty and, ultimately, so will your family.”
But the root of the problem is not the sole fault of current immigration policies. Many of these children are coming from Mexico and Central American countries plagued with drug and gang violence, poor economic conditions and little hope for bright future. In the interest of the safety of their children, parents from these countries are willing to send their children on a perilous journey so they can have a better life.
Others come here because they are misinformed about U.S. immigration policies. Some children have said that new agencies in their native countries told them the U.S. won’t turn away women and children at the border. Some are misled to believe Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals prevents them from being deported.
Many of these children approach border patrol agents and ask for amnesty which means they are reunited with a parent or sponsor until they go through the adjudication process.
By law children from Mexico can be turned away at the border. Those from Central America must be processed within 72 hours and placed in the custody of a parent or sponsor. Children without a parent or sponsor are either put in foster care or placed in one of the temporary camps until they go through deportation proceedings.
This particular crisis has reared its head at a time that was seen as the only window to pass immigration reform this year. Obama has hopes Congress will work on passing reform before they go on recess in August, but this crisis means Republicans are even more reluctant to tackle immigration reform.
Reforming the immigration system would work to the benefit of immigrants but the absence of action doesn’t mean immigrants have not options to attain legal status. An immigration attorney will outline the options available to an individual and help put them on the path to a visa, green card or permanent residency.