Illegal Immigration Sparks Protests Across US

Image: Illegal Immigration Sparks Protests Across US Protesters opposed to a proposal to temporarily house children awaiting deportation demonstrate in Syracuse on July 18.

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 09:10 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The influx of tens of thousands of Central American immigrants who have crossed the border illegally since October has triggered a public backlash with hundreds of protests throughout the country in recent days calling for a crackdown, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Roughly 40 protests have taken place in Los Angeles and southern California, and there were similar events coordinated in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dallas, and Philadelphia, though some also drew counter-protesters.

"How can we afford to take care of other countries' poor? Americans are going hungry without jobs, and no one is attending to them," Herbert Baker, a protester and chiropractor from Los Angeles, told the Journal.

Though the flow of the unaccompanied minors across the southern border has slowed in recent weeks, the administration's plans to transport migrants to towns across the nation have attracted grass-roots opposition to illegal immigration more broadly.

"This is reaction to a border that seems out of control, of people showing up uninvited and of federal officials scrambling to respond," Roberto Suro, director of the University of Southern California's Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, told the Journal. "What remains to be seen is whether the administration can get a handle on it before the negative reactions escalate."

In recent weeks, federal officials report that the flow of minors has slowed from as many as 300 being apprehended per day by border officials to fewer than 100 a day last week. Some experts say they expect the number of illegal entries this year to be small compared to levels reached a decade ago, according to the Journal.

"Fifty thousand is a lot of people, especially unaccompanied kids, but the numbers a decade ago were much bigger in terms of total number of people coming," Jeff Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, told the Journal.

Nevertheless, it appears the public remains concerned about the present crisis, and anti-immigration groups report a surge in interest since the present border crisis erupted. Some are even planning to form armed private militias prepared to position themselves along the U.S.-Mexico border, Barbie Rogers, head of the Patriots Information Hotline, told the Journal.

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