Thousands Of Unaccompanied Children Continue To Cross Southern Border, Says DHS Secretary

Thousands of unaccompanied children continue to cross the southern border into the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress on Thursday.

By Taylor Tyler | Mar 28, 2015 06:13 PM EDT

CaptureThe number of kids entering the country is down about 40 percent from a year ago, though, Johnson told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

“I hope it stays that way, but we have to be prepared in the event it doesn’t,” he said,reported CNS News.

Johnson said that last year, the total number of unaccompanied children apprehended was about 68,000, but this year, he expects the total to be between 27,000 and 40,000.

January 2015, with 2,121 children apprehended, was “actually the lowest monthly number we’ve had in quite a while,” Johnson said.

In February, 2,395 children were picked up at the border, whereas in February 2014, the number was more than double that, at 4,845, Johnson noted.

He estimated that the numbers for March would be “around the 2,600 or 2,700 level,” well below the 7,176 children who crossed in March 2014.

As the weather gets warmer, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border is expected to increase, Johnson said. “If they’re going to creep up, they’re going to creep up right now.”

“The high for the unaccompanied kids was June 2014, that was 10,620,” Johnson told the subcommittee.

Since the start of fiscal year 2015 in October, the Border Patrol reported apprehending 12,509 illegal immigrants under the age of 18, constituting “the second-biggest surge in history after last year’s unprecedented movement of unaccompanied youths across the nation’s southern border,” The Washington Examiner reported last week.

Immigration and Customers Enforcement documents revealed that only one of every six children were actually being returned to their home countries, noted Newsmax.

As part of its budget, the Senate on Thursday approved non-binding language which asks that the law be changed to decrease the time it takes to deport illegal Central American children back to their home countries.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who pushed for the change, said it is needed so that the surge of Central American children expected to cross the border in the coming months are aware that they will be sent back to their home countries rather than released into the U.S., as they were last year, according to The Washington Times.

Current law allows the government to quickly send unaccompanied children back to Mexico, but children who come from Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador must be processed and released to social workers inside the U.S., the Times reported.

http://www.hngn.com/articles/80964/20150328/thousands-of-unaccompanied-children-continue-to-cross-southern-border-says-dhs-secretary.htm

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Senate demands faster deportations for illegal immigrant children

Falls short of 60 votes needed to overcome Democrat-led filibuster, force bill into law later

 - The Washington Times – Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Senate approved non-binding language as part of its budget late Thursday calling for the law to be changed to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children from Central America — but fell just short of the 60 votes that would be needed to force a bill into law later.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who pushed the change, said it was necessary to send a signal to the unaccompanied minors preparing for another run at the U.S.-Mexico border this year that they will be sent back rather than released into the U.S., as all of the children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were last year.

“This has got to stop,” Mr. McCain said.

The vote was 58-42, with three Democrats and one independent joining all Republicans in voting for the change. It came as one of dozens of votes on the budget, where a simple majority is needed to add non-binding language.

But passing a standalone bill eventually would require 60 votes to overcome a certain Democratic-led filibuster, and Thursday’s tally was shy of that.

The law allows the government to quickly send illegal immigrant children from Mexico or Canada home, but requires children from other countries to be processed and released to social workers or sponsors in the U.S.

Analysts said that difference was partly responsible for last summer’s surge of illegal immigrants, which saw more than 10,000 unaccompanied cross per month at the peak, and saw a total of more than 68,000 cross during the entire fiscal year.

Crossings are down 40 percent this year, but that still puts the country on pace for the second-highest surge in history, of more than 40,000 children.

“Let’s keep the current law in place,” pleaded Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, who said the Central American children who are detained and returned would be held in concrete cell block detention centers, which she said was “no place for children.”

The surge overwhelmed immigration agents, Justice Department’s lawyers and the Health and Human Services-contracted social workers who had to hold the children and try to place them with sponsors.

Homeland Security officials have vowed to be better prepared this year — though little has been done to stem the pull factors that draw illegal immigrants to the U.S.

The Democrats who voted with Republicans to speed deportations were Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who usually sides with Democrats, also joined the GOP in backing the change.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/26/senate-votes-speed-deportations-illegal-immigrant-/#ixzz3VmMXY27B 

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House Dem Makes ‘Do Not Deport Me’ Cards for Illegal Immigrants

Mar. 27, 2015 11:52am Pete Kasperowicz

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and other Democrats have created a pamphlet that encourages illegal immigrants to carry a card that asks immigration officers not to deport them if they are detained.

“I created this toolkit for you to protect yourself from deportation,” Gutierrez said in a video describing the pamphlet.

The two-page document describes the documents illegal immigrants should collect in order to use Obama’s program. That action has been delayed by a court injunction, but Gutierrez said he expects the program will be available soon.

While the program cannot be used yet, Gutierrez said illegal immigrants who may qualify for it should be prepared to tell immigration officials that they will soon qualify for it, and that they should therefore not be deported. He said the “do not deport me” card can be used to explain the situation to immigration officials.

“I want you to cut the card in the toolkit and keep it in your wallet, and use [it] in cases of emergency,” he said. “Use this card only if you are arrested and detained by an immigration official.”

“It explains in English and Spanish that you’re eligible for DACA or DAPA,” he added. “By using this card after you’ve been arrested or detained, you can explain that under the policy in place today, you should be released because you’re not a priority for deportation.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 2.04.14 PM

DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and DAPA is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program.

The card reads: “Do not deport me because I am eligible for DACA or DAPA,” and repeats that line in Spanish.

“I hope that you never have to use this card,” he said. “But if you do, don’t be scared because you are prepared. Soon enough the DACA and DAPA applications will be available, and when that time comes you will have everything you need to apply.”

Gutierrez announced his pamphlet at a press conference in which he said Democrats are holding workshops around the country to explain Obama’s immigration move.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/27/house-dem-makes-do-not-deport-me-cards-for-illegal-immigrants/

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