Children At The Border: A Gathering Humanitarian Crisis

By Andy Semotiuk | June 11, 2014

immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk

Toronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: Some very worrisome details are coming from the US/Mexican border, where child migrants are apparently coming into the United States by the thousands:

A surge in unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border illegally into Texas has so overwhelmed the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley that officials have transported more than 750 children since last week to Border Patrol facilities in Arizona — with plans to bring hundreds more, if necessary.

Calling the situation “a humanitarian crisis,” President Barack Obama has sent federal officials scrambling to ramp up temporary housing in three other states for about 3,000 more migrant children.

Columnist Mark Krikorian had this to say:

Today’s immigration editorial notes that word has passed through the grapevine back to Central America that women and children who infiltrate across the border are let go, and that “The only way to stanch the flow is to change such expectations.” But I wonder if this administration is capable of doing what it takes. I don’t mean whether the tools exist, but rather whether the decision makers are ideologically or even psychologically up to the task….

No one in Central America is poring through the 1,200 pages of the Schumer-Rubio bill or studying the memoranda establishing Obama’s illegal DACA/DREAM amnesty to see if they might qualify. It’s the broad signal we’re sending that illegal immigrants can remain here unmolested that’s driving this rush for the border. When the former head of ICE under Obama says that “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero,” news of that reality travels by word of mouth and prospective illegal aliens jump at the opportunity.

The longer this goes on, the worse it is likely to get. However, all of the blame cannot be placed on Obama. There is enough blame to go around.Who Is To Blame?
This humanitarian crisis could have been avoided if immigration reform had passed through Congress and if the House had taken up the bill the Senate passed last year. Alas, that is water under the bridge.
President Obama’s willingness to enforce immigration laws selectively to favor young people who entered the country illegally with their parents, and therefore were not really responsible for their illegal status, is noble in intent but dangerous in implementation. Even if it has been made clear in the legislation that this selective approach will not favor new arrivals, Krikorian is correct: it’s not enough.
It is now critical to work with Mexico and the countries that are producing this migration of children. We need to stem the flow of these children headed for the United States before this becomes a humanitarian disaster. Mexico is the key player that needs to clamp down on these transitory migrant children, and the other countries need to be enticed – through financial incentives, if necessary – to block the departure of these children.Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with Toronto immigration law firm Pace Immigration. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.