In recent weeks, the Obama administration has been making tough statements about the more than 50,000 illegal alien children, unaccompanied by adults, who have rushed the border and turned themselves in, hoping to gain entry to the U.S. The White House has stated flatly that they “can’t stay” and will be returned home. “Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it,” Obama said to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
Some of them — eventually — may be deported. But it appears that the vast majority are being “processed” and then given shelter until relatives are found to take them to their parents. According to the New York Times, the administration has “begun to send the expected 240,000 migrants and 52,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally in recent months in the Rio Grande Valley to cities around the county.”
USA Today reports:
Under that law, most of the unaccompanied minors being caught by Border Patrol agents must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which coordinates care for them, finds them safe housing and helps advise them on their legal rights as their immigration cases are decided.
The problem is that the HHS officials’ idea of “safe housing” is to reunite them with their parents who are also here illegally:
On Wednesday night, the crowd jeered at federal officials who sat through the lengthy meeting but offered few concrete details about what the city could expect. Paul A. Beeson, the chief officer in San Diego for Customs and Border Protection, said the agency still expected one plane from Texas to arrive every 72 hours, but did not know where the passengers would be sent for processing. The migrants will then be turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and probably released to find relatives already living in the United States and told to appear later in front of an immigration judge.
“When you have a noncriminal mother, they are going to be released,” said David Jennings, the Southern California field director for the immigration agency. “The most humane way to deal with this is to find out where they are going and get them there.”
The president says he wants to change the law so that the illegal alien kids receive an immediate determination if they are eligible for asylum. But the reality is that immigration activists fiercely oppose the change and Democrats in the Senate won’t vote for the expedited deportation procedures for kids.
Wendy Young, president of Kids in Need of Defense, says that process is unfair to children who usually have no idea what options are before them to stay in the country.
There are complicated applications for asylum. There are “T Visas” specifically designed for victims of human trafficking. There are “U Visas” for victims of certain crimes. There are U.S.-based relatives who can try to claim them. But all of those, Young said, are hard enough for experienced immigration attorneys to sort through, let alone children who just finished a perilous journey to the U.S.
“For many years, there has been a recognition both by prior administrations and Congress that unaccompanied children are uniquely vulnerable,” Young said. If those rules are changed, “children will be arriving at our borders, traumatized, hungry, frightened, confused…and certainly not knowledgeable about our immigration system.”
This means that things are likely to remain as they are today with the illegal alien children being given a piece of paper telling them to report to an deportation hearing sometime in the future, before disappearing with their illegal parents.