Throngs of children are trying to cross the Texas border again

Chron – by Dylan Baddour

Recent months have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of children trying to trek across Texas’ southern border alone, according to new data from the U.S. Border Patrol.

After a months-long decrease in solo child arrivals after the surge in summer 2014, the numbers are back up to their highest levels for early fall in at least six years.  

August and September, the most recent months with available data, have borne the brunt of the recent increase. In the Border Patrol’s Big Bend sector of Texas, the number of unaccompanied children apprehended trying to enter the country during that period averaged 24 between 2010 and 2014. This year agents tallied 319.

Statewide, 7,390 unaccompanied children were caught crossing in those two months, and 85 percent increase over the same period last year.

“We’re clearly seeing a significant uptick,” said Marc Rosenblum, a deputy director at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington D.C. He said that the slump of arrivals in the last year may have been an anomaly, and that the recent numbers are in line with what trend lines predicted years ago.

He credited the phenomenon to continuing violence in much of South America, and a drastic intensification of violence in El Salvador, as well as the decay of older seasonal migration patterns that brought many migrants in spring and summer, tapering off in fall and winter.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Border Patrol said, “addressing the rising flow of unaccompanied alien children crossing our southwest border is an important priority of this administration and the Department of Homeland Security.”

It noted that overall apprehensions at the Texas border in the one year period are up only slightly, and still remain at a fraction of what they averaged through the 80s, 90s and 2000s.

But the fresh influx of children in recent months is notable. August and September almost always see declines in migrant arrivals, which generally peak between March and June. But this year saw a steady increase leading up to the final months of the fiscal year. Now, child arrivals for that two-month period far exceed those that arrived in the same period following the summer influx that peaked in June last year.

Jessica Brown, director of the Center for Immigration Research at the University of Houston, said, “Unfortunately I think we’re absolutely seeing the conditions for another spike in migration.”

According to the Border Patrol apprehensions of unaccompanied children between August and September at the Texas border were 1,660 in 2011; 3,185 in 2012; 5,820 in 2013; 4,476 in 2014 and 7,390 in 2015.

In the Rio Grande Valley sector, in which last summer’s surge was concentrated  and where 50,000 children and 200,000 others arrived over a 12-month period, apprehensions of unaccompanied children are also drastically up from August and September, to the highest count in at least six years.

“The seasonality seems to have totally broken down,” Rosenblum said, crediting the rise of “door-to-door” smugglers who operate in Central American villages and offer a complete trip to the United States, generally for thousands of dollars. Because most migrants previously made the trip to the U.S.-Mexico border on their own, their trips were tied to weather, school years and the agricultural cycle, but are less so today.

A Border Patrol spokesman said the majority of unaccompanied children apprehended come from the impoverished nations of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which the New York Times reported in August was “convulsed in violence at levels not seen since the civil war of the 1980s” as government forces escalated their war against criminal gangs.

Parts of Mexico have also seen gang violence jump recently according to The Guardian, which reported Tuesday that criminal threats had forced the closure of at least 50 schools in the country’s southern state of Guerrero.

“We believe that an investment in Central America is an investment in our border security,” a border patrol spokesman said.

Families apprehended at the border are mostly sent to federal detention centers in South Texas. Solo children are sent to separate shelters, then placed with friends, family or foster care in the United States.

When tens of thousands of children an families turned up at the border last summer, mostly in the Rio Grande Valley, it set off widespread alarm in the state capitol, where top lawmakers pushed swift action on border security in response.

Brown at U of H said “this is a terrible time for this [child migrant influx] to be happening in my opinion,” because politicization of immigration in the election season, as well as memories of last summer and news of the refugee crisis in Europe has stoked strong public opinions towards migrants and refugees.

3 thoughts on “Throngs of children are trying to cross the Texas border again

  1. “Hey look Fred! Tiny popup moving targets!”
    “Alright Hank, lets go git em! *shack-click*”

    If the above was carried out this would stop overnight, it would stop faster if we did a nationwide duck hunting month and everyone was free to bag as many as they wanted and keep what they kill.

  2. Awww….. aren’t they just the cutest little things you’ve ever seen?

    Yes…. now BLOW THEIR CUTE LITTLE HEADS OFF, or their fat, Dorito-munching, welfare-collecting mothers, and their drug-dealing, MS-13 tattooed fathers will have to join them so Obama-scum can “reunite the family”. (all on your dime, of course)

  3. “addressing the rising flow of unaccompanied alien children”

    Seriously? We’re still calling them “unaccompanied alien children”?


    Enough with the emphasis on “the children” with the “Oh the children” pity party crap.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.