The Obama administration acknowledges that a misperception about U.S. immigration policy has contributed to an influx of children entering the country illegally and is sending Vice President Joe Biden on a trip to Central America, McClatchy reported
Biden will personally deliver the message that children arriving illegally in the United States — many guided by smugglers — are not entitled to American citizenship, McClatchy reported. They will be processed for deportation like anyone else who illegally crosses the border.
U.S. officials have told this to leaders in Latin America for months with apparently little to show for it. Republicans, including Arizona GOP Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, have been pressing the White House to "send a clear message to those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally," according to McClatchy.
Critics say that President Barack Obama's 2012 directive to permit certain illegal immigrant children to defer deportation has attracted the deluge of minors, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Obama had explicitly limited his order to children who entered the country prior to June 2007.
Biden may offer financial inducements to the countries in order to stem the tide. The United States already provides millions of dollars in non-military aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
"You can anticipate that the vice president will talk about ways that the United States can enhance its support to these countries," a U.S. official told McClatchy.
Biden heads to Brazil on Monday to watch the U.S. play in a World Cup game. He will visit Colombia and the Dominican Republic in addition to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The vice president may also publicly address the immigration issue.
Some 60,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross the Mexican border this year.
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