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Obama’s two-year ‘amnesty’ for illegal immigrant minors sparks TWELVE-FOLD spike in numbers pouring across border
- A San Antonio Air Force base, a California Navy base, and a makeshift detention center in Nogales, Arizona have become temporary shelters for children and youths caught crossing the border without their parents
- Republicans blame the Obama administration for the problem, citing a 2012 policy that relaxed deportations
- It’s ‘an administration-made disaster,’ says the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
- President Obama now concedes that it’s an ‘urgent humanitarian situation’ and is setting aside $2 million to pay lawyers for the children
- The US government expects as many as 80,000 child immigrants to illegally enter the US this year, a twelve-fold jump in just three years
- More than 33,000 have been picked up in Texas since October; the Arizona facility has ordered 2,000 mattresses to handle its overload
- ‘Instead of having an application of the immigration law, we are taking mothers and children and dumping them,’ another claimed
- A federal judge castigated the Obama administration in December, saying it was ‘completing the criminal mission’ of human traffickers
President Barack Obama is calling tens of thousands of illegal-immigrant children languishing in temporary U.S. holding pens an ‘urgent humanitarian situation,’ but Republicans are pointing the finger of blame squarely at the White House.
Obama instituted an immigration policy that the GOP says enticed tens of thousands of Central American children to cross America’s southern border illegally without any parents to guide them.
More than 33,000 have been picked up in Texas alone since October. The U.S. border patrol says its forces are overwhelmed, and the courts are bracing for a flood of immigration cases from children held in temporary detention facilities designed to handle a fraction of the numbers. Sanitation problems are beginning to rear their ugly heads.
Obama rolled out a controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, allowing many illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors to escape deportation for two years. The White House gave them another two-year window last week.
As a result, say some GOP leaders, America’s system for handling illegal immigration has been strained to the breaking point and is attracting hundreds of new illegal-immigrant children every day.
Compared to the year before Obama’s policy took effect, twelve times as many kids are coming north illegally this year.
Overflowing: Immigration authorities have opened a shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to house a rising number of unaccompanied minors who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally
Hundreds of immigrants believed to be in the country illegally from Central America and Mexico being held in crowded concrete rooms similar to a jail cell
Many of the children appear to be teenagers but some clearly are younger
Lackland has become a temporary shelter for youths caught crossing the border illegally and alone
A half-century-old section of a U.S. Air Force base in Texas is now a holding and processing center for thousands of children who managed to enter the U.S. alone. The same is true of a Navy base in California.
And a makeshift detention center in Arizona holding 700 illegal immigrant children has ordered 2,000 mattresses to keep up with an expected influx in the coming months.
Judge: US ‘has simply chosen not to enforce … border security laws’
In a landmark court ruling in December, a federal judge ruled against the Department of Homeland Security for releasing a Salvadoran girl to her mother.
The mom had hired a smuggler to transport her daughter into the U.S., and was herself in the country illegally.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen wrote that ‘this court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of those who are violating the border security of the United States.’
‘The DHS,’ Hanen added, ‘should enforce the laws of the United States – not break them.’
Many of the children there were sleeping on plastic boards.
According to the Associated Press, toothbrushes and toothpaste hadn’t arrived yet and were expected Monday.
Hundreds of children had not bathed in days, and were taking turns using just four showers.
Tony Banegas, Honduras’ honorary consul in Phoenix, told the AP that there were 236 Honduran children there on Saturday, including an 8-year-old.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are beyond angry.
Leaked photos from the base, which were obtained by the Breitbart.com news blog, show hundreds of children holed up in crowded concrete rooms, many of them sleeping on the bare floor without blankets or pillows.
‘The recent surge of children and teenagers from Central America showing up at our southern border is an administration-made disaster,’ Virginia GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News last week.
‘Word has gotten out around the world about President Obama’s lax immigration enforcement policies and it has encouraged more individuals to come to the United States illegally,’ Goodlatte said in a statement.
‘Enforcement at the border and in the interior of the U.S.,’ not ‘another bureaucratic task force’ is needed, he claimed.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Friday that ‘instead of having an application of the immigration law, we are taking mothers and children and dumping them … and violating the rule[s] over and over.’
Policy shift: President Barack Obama announced on June 15, 2012 that the U.S. would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who satisfied a broad set of criteria; the move has enticed tens of thousands of children to sneak across the border even though the policy doesn’t apply to them
Immediately contentious: Neil Munro (C), the White House Correspondent for the Daily Caller, peppered Obama with unexpected questions during the announcement, during which the president hadn’t planned to take questions at all
At the base, children are provided with three hot meals and two snacks a day. They can call home twice a week. They have access to mental health clinicians and on-site medical care
The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala
The Obama administration expects as many as 80,000 of these ‘unaccompanied minors’ to cross the border in 2014, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
That number is twelve times what it was in 2011, the year before Obama announced his deferred-action plan.
The administration now estimates the holding facilities where the youngsters are being held cost taxpayers $252 per child per day, far more than the cost of a hotel and more than the children could expect to earn in two weeks of hard work picking crops, work that many were slated to do.
Facing the question of whether to deport the minors or play a game of catch-and-release, the administration has set aside $2 million to pay for their lawyers.
‘We’re taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,’ Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday in a statement.
‘How we treat those in need, particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings – many of whom are fleeing violence, persecution, abuse or trafficking – goes to the core of who we are as a nation.’
Obama’s ‘deferred action’ program for minors, which he announced in a fanfare-laden June 15, 2012 Rose Garden press conference, applies only to children who came to America before mid-2007.
‘It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans,’ the president said then.
Photos leaked to U.S. and Mexican media outlets on Thursday show unaccompanied children crammed into Border Patrol holding cells elsewhere, sleeping on concrete floors
About 850 that were being housed at the facility have been released to a vetted family member or a sponsor
Republicans blame President Obama for the situation, pointing to his 2012 policy that sent a message of hope to kids yearning to stay in the U.S.
Photos leaked Thursday from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in the Rio Grande Valley show overflowing holding facilities of immigrants, many of whom are children
Children between the ages of 12 and 17 are handed several sheets and towels when they arrive and checked for lice and scabies
But Capitol Hill is rife with fears that the message was garbled by the time it reach Guatemala, Honduras and other countries where poverty runs rampant. Many children traveling north on their own hope the policy will include them.
That’s what ‘coyotes,’ the smugglers who bring them in, are telling them to expect, according to Tania Chavez, a representative with La Union del Pueblo Entero, told KRGV-TV. in southern Texas.
The minors flooding over the border are often teenagers leaving behind poverty or violence in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
With the president traveling in Europe last week, there have been no press briefings at the White House where questions might be put to outgoing press secretary Jay Carney.
But Obama met privately Monday morning with a group of nurses from across the country ‘to discuss the importance of passing commonsense immigration reform,’ according to the White House.
The Associated Press reported Monday that in a May 30 memo to the National Security Council’s transborder security directorate, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello warned that the influx of unexpected illegals has stretched the border patrol beyond reason.
But releasing them or reuniting them with family members in the United States would serve as ‘incentives to additional individuals to follow the same path.’
President Barack Obama said the sharp influx of unaccompanied children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala was an ‘urgent humanitarian situation’
More than 33,000 minors were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas since October last year, it has been reported
Republicans angered about the situation point to a federal judge who castigated the Obama administration for relaxing its immigration policy and encouraging human traffickers.
In a December ruling, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ripped the Department of Homeland Security for releasing a Salvadoran girl to her mother – a woman who had hired a smuggler to transport her daughter into the U.S., and was herself in the country illegally.
Hanen wrote that ‘this court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of those who are violating the border security of the United States.’
‘The DHS,’ he added, ‘should enforce the laws of the United States – not break them.’
In a related case, the El Paso Times reported Monday that a Catholic charity was assisting 130 illegal immigrant children flown to El Paso, Texas.
Many were traveling with their parents when they were apprehended trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
One Guatemalan woman named Maria, who enter the United States with her two children, told the Times that she wanted to go to Tennessee to reunite with her sister.
Immigration officials, she said, had released her from custody and let her travel north.
‘Immigration told me, “You are free, you can leave”,’ she said.