Tags: Immigration | Latin America | Mexico | Jeh Johnson | illegal | children | border

DHS Secretary: Thousands of Kids Still Entering US Illegally

By    |   Friday, 27 March 2015 06:09 PM

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged Thursday that "thousands" of unaccompanied children continue to illegally cross the southern border into the United States.

But the numbers entering the country are down compared to a year ago, he told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Johnson said that last year, the total number of unaccompanied children was about 68,000, CNS News reported. He indicated that the number this year would be about half that: 30,000 to 35,000.

In his testimony, Johnson repeatedly emphasized the fact that the number of unaccompanied minors this year was running well below 2014 levels.

He said that in February, for example, 2,395 children were apprehended at the southern border, compared with more than double that figure (4,845) in February 2014.

Johnson expects that this month's total will come in between 2,600 and 2,700 – well below the 7,176 who crossed the southern border in March 2014.

He said the numbers will likely continue to rise as the weather gets warmer, pointing to figures showing that last year's peak month for unaccompanied children illegally entering the United States came in June, when 10,620 crossed the border.

Earlier this week, The Washington Examiner reported that since October (the start of fiscal year 2015), the Border Patrol has reported apprehending 12,509 illegal immigrants under age 18.

These figures constitute "the second-biggest surge in history after last year's unprecedented movement of unaccompanied youths across the nation's southern border," it reported.

Moreover, Immigration and Customs Enforcement documents show that only one of every six kids were being returned to their home countries, mostly El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.

"And this is supposed to be the slow time of year," said Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.

"Cities and towns that have already received large numbers of unaccompanied illegal alien minors should brace themselves to repeat the process again in the coming months," she told the Examiner.

Vaughan projected that, based on her own experience in monitoring the border, U.S. authorities are on pace to seize about 42,000 unaccompanied alien children this year.

If border officials continue to return only one of every six of them, that will put the country on pace to take in roughly 35,000 unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors this year.

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged Thursday that "thousands" of unaccompanied children continue to illegally cross the southern border into the United States.
Jeh Johnson, illegal, children, border
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2015-09-27
Friday, 27 March 2015 06:09 PM
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