Center for Immigration Studies
Border Surge Is Great for Central America’s Oligarchs

It is rarely if ever discussed, but the current surge out of Central America, and into Southern Texas, is a wonderful development for some very powerful people — Central America’s oligarchs.

Think of the alternatives: the understandably unhappy majority of these countries, instead of spending time, money, and emotional energy on the risky emigration of their relatives, might otherwise be using those resources for:

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Trafficking Law Largely Inapplicable to Border Crisis

The start of my op-ed posted today at TheHill.com:

Despite all the attention it has received, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 – a law aimed, in part, at “unaccompanied alien children” who are victims of trafficking – appears to have little applicability to the current situation on the border. There are at least three reasons why the Obama administration is wrong when it asserts that the 2008 trafficking law binds their hands and requires them to grant most young illegal immigrants and their families a day in immigration court, lawyers and other benefits. …

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Border Patrol: Illegal Surge Is Mostly Families, Not Unaccompanied Kids

Border Patrol statistics found buried on a government website confirm that most of the Central American illegal aliens apprehended in the recent surge are family units. Less than one-fourth (22 percent) of all those apprehended are unaccompanied alien children (UACs) from Central America. The number of illegally arriving families shot up five times faster than UAC arrivals over last year.

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Enforcement Program Stifled 2001-02 Illegal Central American Flow

A new Center video interview with Hipolito Acosta, a retired senior U.S. immigration official, describes a successful program in which nearly 80,000 U.S.-bound migrants from Central America were intercepted in Mexico over 12-months in 2001-02. U.S. immigration agents worked with Mexican and Central American governments to repatriate the migrants and arrest smugglers. As a result, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal crossers from Central American were reduced by 76 percent over the period. The program cost $1.6 million – but saved the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement spending by preventing the illegal crossings from occurring. The Department of Homeland Security should adopt a similar program aimed at prevention and deterrence to address the current surge of illegal families and children. Authors:  Jessica Vaughan Bryan Griffith

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Sen. Cornyn Reacts to Criticism of the HUMANE Act Bill Pending in Congress

On July 21, National Review Online (NRO) published an article by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), responding to criticism of the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency (HUMANE) Act by both the left and the right. (The HUMANE Act was filed jointly in both houses of Congress; in the Senate by Cornyn and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)).

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How the Feds Stopped the Illegal Brazilian Influx of 2005

Americans have been stunned by report of the chaotic movement of tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Rio Grande. Instead of law and policies that discourage illegal immigration by arresting and deporting unauthorized border crossers, the public has learned of a system that encourages the massive influx by providing illegal crossers with permission to join family members or friends across the country. The system has turned the Border Patrol, long regarded as a formidable border barrier, into a Welcome Wagon.

The story is bizarre. But it is not unprecedented. As Congress surveys the chaotic border landscape and considers a legislative fix, it could learn a great deal from a similar situation that developed in the same part of the Texas border just nine years ago.

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The Border Surge Is Much More than a Humanitarian Issue

The president’s framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an “urgent humanitarian situation”, is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president’s responsibility carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.

None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration’s preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so.

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A Very Personal Argument for More Interior Immigration Enforcement

Sometimes we get phone calls here at the Center from distressed citizens in conflict with illegal aliens — and they add a strong, personal dimension to the arguments about the lack of interior enforcement of immigration law.

Here’s one such story, with all names deleted.

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Honduran Paper: Young People, Fleeing Neglected Schools, Head for U.S.

The Honduran newspaper El Heraldo has just published a story about schools so badly neglected by the Honduran government that they are increasingly abandoned by young people, who then choose to go to the United States:

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Salvadoran Smuggler Disputes Story of Thousands of Children Traveling Solo: “They don’t go. They are taken.”

Along the east Texas border, in towns like Brownsville, children – including very young children – are coming out of the Mexico desert, alone. They’ve fled their towns and cities in Central America. Alone, they’ve run a gauntlet across Mexico, of bandits, corrupt police, and drug gangs. Robbed, beaten, sometimes raped, kidnapped. They’re the ones who survived. Others died on the way. At least 60,000 are expected this year. … Can you imagine being 8, 10, 14 years old, fleeing your home town – Tegucigalpa, Guatemala City, San Salvador – and traveling alone on top of a train across Mexico?

— Tom Ashbrook, introducing the June 9 edition of his program “On Point”, broadcast on public radio stations across the country.

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