Thousands Of Children Crossed US-Mexico Border In October

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2015, aerial file photo, a U.S. border patrol vehicle appears near the border wall near Abram, Texas, from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter. Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant... FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2015, aerial file photo, a U.S. border patrol vehicle appears near the border wall near Abram, Texas, from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter. Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Also, in the figures released Tuesday, the number of family members crossing together nearly tripled from October 2014 — from 2,162 to 6,029. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S. border with Mexico in October, almost double the number from October 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Also, in the figures released Tuesday, the number of family members crossing together nearly tripled from October 2014 — from 2,162 to 6,029.

The numbers spiked despite expectations of lower numbers due to the colder winter months coming, better enforcement along the border and efforts by Mexican authorities to stem the stream of Central American migrants to the U.S. Though tens of thousands of women and children from Central America were caught at the border in summer 2014, it had dropped by nearly half during the 2015 federal fiscal that ended Sept. 30.

The 4,973 unaccompanied children caught at the border last month is the highest number that Washington, D.C.-based think tank Washington Office on Latin America has recorded for October since their records began in 2009, said Adam Isacson, a border expert and senior analyst.

The high numbers buck the typical trends of crossings peaking in spring then declining through summer and fall, Isacson said. But there was an uptick in families and children crossing in July, and the numbers have stayed over 4,000 each month since.

“Rather than a big jump, it’s been a steady burn,” he said. “I think we are almost in crisis mode with this many months of sustained arrivals.”

Most children and families trying to cross the border in October were from El Salvador. Increased violence in the tiny country, which averaged 30 murders a day in August, is likely partly to blame, Isacson said. Previously, Guatemala had the most families and children apprehended at the border.

While the Rio Grande Valley remains the center of migration flows in Texas, immigrants are starting to venture farther west. The number of unaccompanied children caught in Del Rio sector jumped from 120 to 237, while 187 children were apprehended in the remote Big Bend area, up from just 13 a year ago.

According to internal intelligence files from the Homeland Security Department, most families interviewed told Customs and Border Protection officials that smugglers decided where they would try to cross. They reported that the cost ranged from about $5,000 to cross the border near Matamoros or Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from the Rio Grande Valley, but was about $1,500 to $2,000 to cross near Ciudad Acuna, across the river from Del Rio.

Carlos Bartolo Solis, director of a shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas, said migrants are eschewing the dangerous train that begins its journey near his shelter after raids by Mexican immigration authorities. The flow of migrants, however, has not diminished, he said, adding that they are moving along other routes, often walking.

“They are moving in hiding,” he said in Spanish.

The administration was caught off guard by the sudden surge of children and families in 2014 and made several efforts to curb the flow of people crossing the border illegally, including media campaigns in Central America to scare people out of attempting the dangerous journey.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement this week that the campaigns are still in place and highlight that “those attempting to come here illegally are a top priority for removal.”

Immigrant families caught illegally crossing the border between July and September told U.S. immigration agents they made the dangerous trip in part because they felt they were likely to succeed, according to the intelligence files. Immigrants spoke of “permisos,” or passes, that they believed would allow them to remain in the United States.

___

Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington, D.C. and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. Follow Seth Robbins on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/serobbins

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Good gracious. This news will met with glee by the far-right – just more evidence President Obama either is not doing his job, does not care … or is secretly helping them to cross and VOTE.

  2. Virtually every Central American (and South American, for that matter) country’s democratically elected governments were overthrown by the U.S. at one time or another. (Please reply to list the exceptions.)

    This is yet another crises the U.S. has, if not instigated, exacerbated and amplified through its corporatist policies.

    I used to wonder “What the hell is wrong with us?” Now one need only read the news one day a week and the answer is clear.

    Oy vey ou C’est la vie?

  3. Avatar for mrf mrf says:

    It’s interesting that there are no child migrants from Nicaragua amongst this surge since we have long history of supporting either a corrupt right wing dictator, Somoza or the 1980’s era Contras who were trying to remove the democratically elected leftist Sandinistas. The Sandinistas have been back in power for the past number of years yet there is little migration. It is one of the poorest countries in Central America so there must be some migrating within the region.

  4. Avatar for dnl dnl says:

    …and thousands more Cuban refugees expected.

    Any comment from the Cubiclewannabes?

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

Participants

Avatar for system Avatar for mrf Avatar for dnl Avatar for beattycat Avatar for tiowally

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: