Deportation Crackdown Deters Some Migrants From Heading North

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 07:18 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Reports that children who arrived with adults at the U.S. border illegally are now being speedily deported are discouraging some migrants from continuing their journeys north, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Republicans want to amend a 2008 law that makes it cumbersome to promptly deport unaccompanied minors as well, most of whom have come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

A meeting between the leaders of these countries and President Barack Obama is scheduled on Friday. Washington has sent $9.6 million in repatriation aid to Latin America with promises of more to come.

Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who heads a GOP task force on the crisis, said, "If we're going to return them, we want to be sure it's done humanely, that we're not just dropping them off at the border," the Journal reported.

Until the current crackdown, smugglers characterized U.S. immigration policy as lenient. Washington is now trying to counter that perception.

"Word about stepped-up U.S. deportations has spread like wildfire along the migrant routes," Laurence Iliff and Laura Meckler of the Journal wrote. As a consequence, parents in Latin America are rethinking whether to entrust their children to human traffickers heading north.

Fewer minors are being apprehended at the Rio Grande Valley, another indication that the influx — which has brought 57,000 children since October 2013 — may be abating, the Journal reported.

In Mexico, Esther Vasquez from Honduras said she was getting cold feet about trying to enter the United States with her son. "People are now telling me that things have changed," the Journal reported.

Migrant advocates say that poverty and lawlessness in Latin America will continue to serve as an incentive to enter the United States illegally. Hundreds of migrants, who would have had to pay gangs $100 each, were seen on a freight train heading north earlier this week, according to Carlos Bartolo Solis, the manager of a Catholic shelter for migrants in Mexico, the Journal reported.

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