Tags: Immigration | immigration | children | Central America | Mexico

Immigrant Kids Flood US for Reasons Beyond Rumors They Can Stay

By Andrea Billups   |   Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 01:42 PM

Rumors that they will be allowed to stay if they successfully get into the United States are not the only reason for the explosion of young immigrants making dangerous crossings from Central America.

While some believe that authorities will keep them if they make it here, others come for traditional reasons: poverty, violence, lack of work, and the hope that they can be reunited with loved ones who are already in country, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Some face a difficult choice for their future — stay in their home countries and embrace a culture of gangs, drugs, and violence, or follow a dream for a better life and run for the border.

The choice for children is bleak, said the Rev. Gerardo Salazar, a priest in the Nueva Concepcion parish in Guatemala.

"You dedicate yourself to drugs and violence, or you grab the road to the United States, as complicated as that is," he said.

Those youth who get caught are upset but find camaraderie and hope in others just like themselves who they've met in government detainment at the border. Many were told back home to surrender to U.S. authorities and they could get in, but that story turned out to be untrue.

"I was going along happy, with all the other kids, and thinking I was finally going to get to know my mom," said Sindy Lauce, who was returned to her home in Guatemala with her sister Karen by bus.

It was a big letdown, she told the Times. She had memorized the phone number for her mother, who lives in North Carolina. She had hoped to be reunited.

"I know her only by photos," she said.

Meanwhile, as more young people make a dangerous attempt to get in — an estimated 52,000 have arrived in the United States so far — a House Homeland Security committee field hearing was set near the border in Texas as local officials attempt to handle the overwhelming numbers, USA Today reported.

Lawmakers hope to soothe tensions as immigrant youth have been sent from Texas to California, only to be turned away as communities there cry foul at the government transport and uncertainty over what is next for thousands of kids without homes and families.

President Barack Obama is seeking $2 billion from Congress to handle the mounting crisis. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has asked the president to visit his state's border with Mexico firsthand to see what is at stake there, Politico reported.

"If the president of the United States is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that," Perry told Fox News on Wednesday. "But I haven't even had a phone call from this president."

Perry added of what he sees as a shirking of responsibility at the border: "The real issue, from my perspective, is this message that has come out of this administration for too many years that, 'Come on up and cross the border, and you can become a United States citizen.' That has been, by their actions and probably by their rhetoric, a message that has been sent out."

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