The number of unaccompanied immigrant children served by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, used to be around 7,000 per year. So far this year, the agency has counted more than 42,000 voluntarily turning themselves in after illegally crossing the border.
It doesn't appear that the mass migration of Central American children will let up anytime soon. According to CNN, "Immigrant rights agencies project that number could soar to 130,000 next year."
Could this be an unintended consequence of the DACA or is it just a coincidence?
On June 15, 2012, President Obama signed a memo calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and have pursued education or military service here. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”).
The children are crossing over from Mexico but are predominantly from Central American countries, such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Administration officials have said decades of violence and economic hardship in those countries are suddenly prompting the children to seek a better life in the USA and has nothing to do with the DACA. It is merely coincidence.
Some lawmakers, however, argue the youths – and the smuggling rings bringing them in – are exploiting U.S. policy, which allows youngsters from Central American countries other than Mexico to be released to an adult living in the USA while awaiting their court hearing.
Children who do not have a parent or relative or friend of the family here are probably entered into the U.S. foster care system where taxpayers pay a stipend for their care, and schooling.
These numbers remind me of Carter's 1980 stroke of the pen policy "Mariel Boat lift" where Castro used the policy to instead empty 125,000 inmates of the Cuban prisons onto U.S. soil.
It seems that other countries take U.S. kindness for weakness.