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In recent months, the United States’ southern border has seen a wave of tens of thousands of women and children migrating from Central American crime and violence.
Beneath that load, American border officials have been utterly overwhelmed. Earlier this summer, the U.S. government sent the first of many planes bearing immigrants back into harm’s way. The flight took Honduran women and children to San Pedro Sula, a city with the highest homicide rate in the world.
The Obama administration touts this as a sign of determination to stem the tide of migration. But many worry that it represents the weakening of protections for unaccompanied minors.
Many of these women and children hoped to take advantage of policy that supposedly makes it easier for them to remain in the country.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 currently protects unaccompanied minors from countries that don’t border the U.S. by automatically qualifying them for asylum hearings.
So, they can only be deported by order of an immigration judge. This is in contrast to simply being interviewed by Border Patrol or Customs officers.
While the intention was to provide serious scrutiny and protect children, new problems have arisen.
The public and Congress are pushing for action, with numbers skyrocketing from:
President Obama requested almost 4 billion dollars to end the crisis. But disagreement has dogged the process, with conservatives refusing to vote without changes to immigration law.
Other positions taken include:
The message, though, seems to be clear; the U.S. government will send illegal immigrants back.
At the same time, this has just been the initial wave of immigrants.
No matter what actions Congress and the Obama administration take, women and children will likely continue crossing Mexico. And by any means necessary in the face of extreme violence and poverty.
As many critics have pointed out, returning immigrants will simply use a more expensive and less scrupulous smuggler on a more dangerous route. This could make the crisis a whole lot worse before it gets any better. Women and children would be traversing some of the most dangerous, and most remote areas.
If you have immigration questions, we may have the answers you seek. We work with qualified immigration lawyers who can help. If you have any questions about how to legally immigrate to the United States, contact us to book a consultation.
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