120,000 Minors May Cross US Border Illegally in 2014

Image: 120,000 Minors May Cross US Border Illegally in 2014 A child on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border fence looks into Arizona.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 06:33 AM

By Elliot Jager

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An unprecedented 120,000 minors are expected to illegally enter the United States in 2014, The Washington Examiner reported.

The children and teens come mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, according to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which advocates for "compassionate immigration reform" and helps re-settle the youngsters in the United States. There are also some minors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Burma, Afghanistan, and Iraq, according to immigration advocates.

In 2013, 24,000 children were caught having illegally crossed the border. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops forecast that 60,000 would come this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the Lutheran group says that the actual number is likely to be 120,000. Ten years ago only 5,800 unaccompanied minors crossed into the United States, the Journal reported.

The Rev. David Vasquez, an immigration advocate, told the Examiner the youngsters come to the United States out of desperation.

The executive director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Annie Wilson, described the influx as "a city of children."

"It's 100,000 kids on their feet walking out of their country" in "unprecedented" numbers, she told the Examiner. More than being enticed by a future in the United States the youngsters are trying to steer clear of dangers back home, she said.

The Lutheran group is lobbying the Obama administration, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for more money to deal with the increased numbers. They say more than the $1.5 billion the federal government has already budgeted for their work is needed.

Once they cross into the United States, the youngsters do not risk deportation or repatriation. Authorities try to place them with relatives – often themselves illegally in the United States – or into foster care.

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