New evidence has surfaced linking the influx of underage migrants to the Obama administration’s immigration policies.
Republicans have argued that the situation, fast becoming a humanitarian crisis on our border, traces back to the administration’s programs and lax enforcement of immigration laws.
At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, drew a connection between the dramatic spike in unaccompanied minors crossing illegally and the administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“Midway through 2012 was when the administration unilaterally granted amnesty to some 800,000 people who had been minors, with the so-called DACA proceeding,” Cruz said. “And, you can see sometime after that, the numbers spike dramatically.”
He and others have argued that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the administration’s lax enforcement of immigration laws have served to foster a belief abroad that minors would be allowed to remain in the United State if they were to cross the border.
A recent internal memo written by Border Patrol agents has been said to re-affirm this claim. After interviewing 230 illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, “the most heavily-trafficked area of the surge,” Border Patrol agents found that “the main reason the subjects chose this particular time to migrate to the United States was to take advantage of the ‘new’ U.S. ‘law’ that grants a ‘free pass’ or permit (referred to as ‘permisos’) being issued by the U.S. government to female adult OTMs (‘Other Than Mexicans’) traveling with minors and to UACs (‘Unaccompanied Children’).”
The report continued, “The information is apparently common knowledge in Central America and is spread by word of mouth and international and local media.”
Compounding the findings of this report, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said her staff—who recently had toured the Nogales, Ariz., Border Patrol holding facility—“had learned that many of the children were smuggled across the border after hearing radio ads promising they would not be deported,” reported The Washington Post.
The White House has credited the situation at the border to widespread violence and poverty in Central America, particularly Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
“Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s director of domestic policy, acknowledged last week that unfounded ‘rumors’ could be playing a role in the influx of minors,” The Washington Post reported. “But she and Johnson have rejected the notion that such perceptions are a leading cause of the crisis.”