Crisis at the Border: More Deterrence Needed to Address Changing Migration Patterns
More Families, Children Attempting to Enter America Illegally
WASHINGTON – Twenty years ago most immigrants illegally crossing the border were single men looking for work. Today, migrants illegally crossing the border are completely different: the number of families and unaccompanied children arriving at our Southwest border is at an all-time high.
In the past, Border Patrol was able to detain and return most migrants very quickly because they were predominately single adult men from Mexico. In fiscal year (FY) 2000, Border Patrol was able to repatriate 95 percent of the illegal immigrants they detained within hours.
Today, more than half of all illegal migrants Border Patrol apprehends are families or unaccompanied children. Many of these migrants are making long and arduous journeys – often through human smugglers – from across Mexico and Central America and arrive in need of urgent medical care. Smugglers do not care about the well-being of these migrants, but just about turning a profit, often encouraging migrants to bring children as “visas” to have a better shot of being able to stay once they step foot on American soil.
Because of how our current system operates, these migrants are then released into the United States until their asylum process has been completed or they are placed into deportation proceedings. As a result, 98.9 percent of families and 98.2 percent of unaccompanied children apprehended in FY2017 who originated from outside of Mexico remain in the United States, compared to just 18 percent of single adults.
Bottom line: We need a barrier at our Southwest border to discourage smugglers and others from making the dangerous journey across hundreds of miles of inhospitable desert, especially with children.
Contact: Nicole Hager