Just how “unaccompanied” are the children coming across the border?

posted at 2:01 pm on July 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The border crisis has been depicted as a wave of children and teens overwhelming US Border Patrol resources, traveling mainly alone through hostile territory controlled by drug cartels and gangs. The Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow calls this “somewhat misleading,” as least as pertaining to the definition of “unaccompanied.” Many are not traveling with their parents, but most of those are traveling with another adult of their acquaintance:

The “unaccompanied minors” who walked out of the brush on the banks of the Rio Grande and turned themselves into Border Patrol officers last month were not, technically, unaccompanied. In the group of 15 people that we watched that night, about half of them appeared to be adults, including men and a woman carrying a baby, in addition to several children.

It’s the most potent image in the current immigration crisis: Tens of thousands of Central American children on a dangerous solo exodus out of their countries. But from what I’ve seen reporting on this issue from the U.S. border and in Honduras, it is also somewhat misleading.

The term “Unaccompanied Alien Children,” or UACs, as used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, refers to people up to age 17 who are traveling without a parent or legal guardian. It does not mean they are traveling alone.

In migrant shelters in Mexico and Honduras, talking to both children and adults who are making these journeys, or have been deported after failing to reach the United States, the most common scenario seems to be children who are traveling in groups that include adult relatives, neighbors, smugglers or others. Often the children migrating already have one or more parents living in the United States, and they are considered “unaccompanied,” even if traveling with other adult relatives.

Children truly traveling alone “seem[] to be the exception,” Partlow concludes. If so, that provides a different context to the recent flood of immigrants crossing illegally into the US, and that has an impact on how the US can approach it. The narrative thus far is of children left to themselves with no adults to watch out for their interests, and demands for an open-arms policy have risen at least in part because of that perception.

For instance, it colors this otherwise worthwhile look from the Christian Science Monitor at the existing options for dealing with minors in the immigration system. The presumption through all of this is that children will have no adult able to deal with navigating the system:

The most common way such minors are granted permanent residency is not via asylum at all, but rather by receiving Special Immigrant Juveniles Status (SIJS), which aims to help foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. …

What’s more, most unaccompanied minors have no legal representation. Immigration court judges will advise children to pursue a certain legal path, such as receiving an SIJS determination from a state court. But, immigration advocates say, children often lack the resources and the basic understanding of American law to follow the judges’ orders.

“Many of these children don’t even know what a lawyer or a deportation order is,” says Kristen Jackson, a lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles, who specializes in immigration law. “Once … [unaccompanied children] are taken in, all are placed before an immigration judge. The question is whether they’re going to be able to access a state court, which often depends on circumstances beyond their control.”

These systems may also be difficult for adults to navigate too, but if Partlow is correct, they’ll be present to deal with the problem. Also, these children wouldn’t necessarily qualify as “abandoned or neglected” either, since the adults came with them and are relatives or friends. That would also hamper their eligibility for standard asylum, the other option, because they have to show that the children have been persecuted “as a result of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group.” Under the particular circumstances of this immigration crisis, that’s not going to be a common finding.

In other words, “unaccompanied” appears to be a legal term that has been largely mistaken as a descriptive account of their actual circumstances. Kudos to Partlow for clarifying it, and we’ll see how many other media outlets adjust their reporting and their assumptions accordingly.

The federal government has put 200 of the unaccompanied minors in Nebraska, and Governor Dave Heineman wants to know who they are. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) will propose legislation requiring such notification in the future:

Just last week it was announced that over 200 unaccompanied illegal immigrant children have been placed in Nebraska. Now, Governor Heineman and other Congressional leaders in Nebraska want the names of those children.

Today, Heineman and Congressional leaders from Nebraska sent a letter to Secretary of HHS Sylvia Burwell. The letter says that neither Governor Heineman nor mayors of the communities have any formal notification of the large scale relocation.

The leaders are requesting that HHS immediately provide the names of the children to the state, along with identification numbers and dates, and their sponsors names and addresses. …

In addition to that letter, US Senator Mike Johanns has sponsored legislation in Washington dealing with unaccompanied illegal immigrants.

The bill would require the federal government to notify state officials if unaccompanied alien children are placed in their states.

How many of these came across with adult relatives and friends, and where have they been moved?

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They’ve been unaccompanied for so long they’ve gotten tattoos and facial hair.

CurtZHP on July 16, 2014 at 2:05 PM

What – our own government, lie to us? Shocked – shocked, I say.

Midas on July 16, 2014 at 2:06 PM

In other words, “unaccompanied” appears to be a legal term that has been largely mistaken as a descriptive account of their actual circumstances. Kudos to Partlow for clarifying it, and we’ll see how many other media outlets adjust their reporting and their assumptions accordingly.

That’s funny right there, I don’t care who ya’ are.

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Wake up. The term UAC also doesn’t apply to any of these kids who has a parent or guardian in the country who can care for them.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/16/obama-may-be-misreading-2008-deportation-law-repor/

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/382862/report-2008-law-not-obstacle-rapid-response-border-crisis-ryan-lovelace

http://cis.org/2008-trafficking-law-inapplicable-current-border-crisis

Thus, in cases where illegal immigrants have summoned their children to the US and are not in prison or hospitalized, this 2008 doesn’t apply to the kids. So the kids can be turned back immediately. In a twofer, why don’t we deport the parent(s) at the same time?

BuckeyeSam on July 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM

One of the adult criminals who recently came over the border (originally from Honduras) with children, and was released into the U.S. by ICE, has been arrested for murdering a woman in Texas.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/07/16/Exclusive-Released-Alien-from-Border-Crisis-Arrested-For-Alleged-Murder-Kidnapping-in-Texas

Just another “act of love” no doubt, eh Jeb?

And now the taxpayers of Texas will get to pay millions of dollars to prosecute and imprison this Honduran criminal for the next several decades.

Aren’t multiculturalism and rampant lawlessness great? The gifts that keep on giving . . . .

AZCoyote on July 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Yeah the government lies to us. Expectedly.

In related news:
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/07/16/Exclusive-Released-Alien-from-Border-Crisis-Arrested-For-Alleged-Murder-Kidnapping-in-Texas

FTA:

LUBBOCK, Texas—An illegal immigrant who was released by U.S. authorities with a Notice to Appear has been arrested for the alleged murder of a woman and kidnapping of children on U.S. soil. The alleged crimes occurred after the man was released.

The man, Pedro Alberto Monterroso-Navas, entered the U.S. illegally with children
and turned himself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents. He was processed and released, as are all illegal immigrants who come as unaccompanied minors or incomplete family units from Central America. The alien is from Honduras.

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 2:11 PM

AZCoyote on July 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Great minds. :)

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Meanwhile, in a concurrent headline:
 

Working mom arrested for letting her nine-year-old play alone in the park

 
Compare and contrast.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM

BuckeyeSam on July 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The bottom line is almost none of these illegal aliens qualify for any type of residency under existing immigration law and that includes the 2008 trafficking law signed by Bush. Obama is facilitating human smuggling and many Republicans are looking to give Obama additional funding to do it.

Wigglesworth on July 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Obama-approved immigrant pedophiles are doing the job Americans won’t do.

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Meanwhile, in a concurrent headline:

Working mom arrested for letting her nine-year-old play alone in the park

Compare and contrast.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM

There’s “unaccompanied” and then there’s “unaccompanied unaccompanied”.

Bitter Clinger on July 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Meanwhile, in a concurrent headline:

Working mom arrested for letting her nine-year-old play alone in the park

Compare and contrast.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Ha ha ha.

A classic.

gwelf on July 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Nice post.
I’ve wondered but never articulated my confusion at the photos and videos of (mostly) women who appeared to be lumped in with the “UAC’s”. I may have also seen similar images of men. WTH?

Secure the border!
Turn them away.
House the others in tent cities until their hearing/deportation date.

freedomfirst on July 16, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Well on a positive note…

Whan CA becomes Mexifornia

and TX becomes Mexas

an AZ becomes Mexizona

and DC becomes Mexico City,

then all us hard working white guys can retire in Central America or Europe or Australia and take our money with us and watch the SOBs starve up here. I’ll be damned if I am going to support 30-50 million uneducated illegals in USA.

txdoc on July 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

take our money with us

txdoc on July 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

hahahahahahaha, too funny. You clearly don’t understand ‘redistribution’.

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Compare and contrast.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Was the nine-y/o wearing Obama shoes?

‘Cause if so…

You are never alone..

Electrongod on July 16, 2014 at 2:31 PM

The invaders are hardly alone.

Many are accompanied by deadly infectious diseases.

viking01 on July 16, 2014 at 2:32 PM

txdoc on July 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Can’t bring myself to take positive planning steps to expatriating myself, but the thought has been on my mind a lot recently.

I’ll probably retire in the next 10 years, but who knows what condition this country and it’s various regions will be in. I know where I live, there’s been an unbelievable demographic shift over the past 30-40 years….almost all of it over the past 10-15 years.

freedomfirst on July 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Rise against the traitors of the USA, including the pope, who now advocated illegality.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

So Obama’s excuse is “somewhat misleading” and the GOP is going to introduce a bill to inform states “in the future” about what illegals they are sending them.

This is how Rome burned.

PattyJ on July 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Show up or shut up.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Under the particular circumstances of this immigration crisis, that’s not going to be a common finding.

In a rational world, maybe, where judges understood the meaning of words and acted in accord with the strict interpretation of the law. Unfortunately, “social groups” is a really squishy term that a progressive judge (and almost all the immigration judges are progressives) can use with carte blanche to grant asylum willy-nilly.

GWB on July 16, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Why are there always large butts, and only faces of children? It’s almost like someone said, ‘if you’re over 18, hide’.

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Europe declines boatloads of African invaders, hypocrite.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Not just Europe.

Australia frequently turns away boatloads of would-be illegal aliens, Mexico imprisons illegal aliens (except the thousands they’re currently allowing to travel across the country to the U.S., on a special 72-hour only pass), China and Iran execute illegal aliens, etc.

Only America is expected to throw open its doors — and its treasury — to every foreigner on the planet who thinks he or she can get more of whatever they want here.

AZCoyote on July 16, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Good thing the authorities are cracking down on moms who let their children play alone at public parks.

NotCoach on July 16, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Blacks and other legal minorities, the middle/lower classes, legal blue/white color workers, taxpayers, cantorize all your politicians.

They rob you blind.

Otherwise, shut up and work harder and live in squalor and enjoy your modern day masters in DC, who live like kings, on your backs.

Schadenfreude on July 16, 2014 at 2:37 PM

As usual, “the children” are serving as a distraction to the media, including the normally conservative media, while this lawless administration has the border patrol providing transportation for adults and “family units” to cities across the US where they are released to.

Nomas on July 16, 2014 at 2:38 PM

According to reports I have read, 80% are male and most are 14 and older.

bw222 on July 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

This Mom arrested for leaving her kids in a car for 16 minutes.

Shouldn’t all illegal parents be arrested for the abuse they put their kids through riding the Death Train?

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

At least the MS13 guys can now use soccer balls instead of having to kick around human heads.

Good on ya, Beck, good on ya.

Bishop on July 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Anybody know what Zero is doing about the border crisis today?

Actually, he was out talking about “Climate Change” this morning.

And he’s working out the arrangements and details of his much anticipated August vacation!

Speaking of illegals and diseases, have you all been following the outbreak of Ebola and that the incompetents running that show can’t get it under control?

Are you wondering what that story has to do with illegals crossing the border?

Well, the border patrol has found evidence of muslims entering the US, quite possibly from the Mideast and Africa, which just happens to be where the Ebola outbreak is happening.

Muslims are quite capable of using a disease to attack us and they have worked on bio agents in the past, albeit with usually calamitous results.

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 2:59 PM

According to reports I have read, 80% are male and most are 14 and older.

bw222 on July 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

If the press isn’t allowed into the caps, who is issuing the reports?

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

camps not caps.

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

have been deported after failing to reach the United States,

Huh?
We have to deport them BEFORE reaching the US?

LtGenRob on July 16, 2014 at 3:07 PM

At least the MS13 guys can now use soccer balls instead of having to kick around at human heads.

Good on ya, Beck, good on ya.

Bishop on July 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Until they get knives and guns anything they have available will do as a weapon.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:09 PM

This Mom arrested for leaving her kids in a car for 16 minutes.

Shouldn’t all illegal parents be arrested for the abuse they put their kids through riding the Death Train?

faraway on July 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Nah, the invaders have been issued their personal “Stay out of jail free” Obamacard to flash in such situations.

hawkeye54 on July 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Huh?
We have to deport them BEFORE reaching the US?

LtGenRob on July 16, 2014 at 3:07 PM

I think they’re talking about Honduras folks who’ve been deported *by Mexico* when they stalled out in Mexico and didn’t make it all the way here.

Harumph; a country deporting illegals – go figure. They must hate brown people.

Midas on July 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Is there anything Obama won’t lie about? (was that a rhetorical question?)

UnstChem on July 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

As with everything from Wilson running on, “He kept us out of war”, it’s a scam.

formwiz on July 16, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Can’t bring myself to take positive planning steps to expatriating myself, but the thought has been on my mind a lot recently.

Start planning before it is too late. I came here from Canada, so moving countries again not a stretch. But one needs to plan ahead and get some assets out of country, as when the caca hits the fan, you may not be able to take it with you.

Just ask people who escaped form Berlin Wall, Cuban boat people, Vietnamese after fall of Saigon. They all just had the clothes on their back.

The Dems already have a plan to seize all 401Ks, IRAs etc in an emergency (can you say stroke of a pen)as when debt hits $20T and dollar collapses. I don’t trust this regime any further than Obama can throw a ball.

txdoc on July 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

They’ve been unaccompanied for so long they’ve gotten tattoos and facial hair.

CurtZHP on July 16, 2014 at 2:05 PM

And they have been so terrified by crime in their country that their hair has turned gray.

slickwillie2001 on July 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Just how “unaccompanied” are the children coming across the border?

…the kid in the picture…is ‘accomanied’…by a bottle!…perfect Democrat!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 16, 2014 at 4:32 PM

“accompanied”

JugEarsButtHurt on July 16, 2014 at 4:33 PM

How many of these came across with adult relatives and friends, and where have they been moved?

HHS will gladly provide those answers for us when they have a clear picture of what is going on.
Six months later, a computer hard drive crash destroyed the information. It was not backed up as it was on a local PC and not a server. So sorry.

tkc882 on July 16, 2014 at 4:33 PM

The Great Invasion of 2014.

Our their grand kids will read about it.

Joe Mama on July 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM

A progressive colleague was going all out in support of allowing these new illegal aliens from Central America stay in the country, providing for them, and eventually granting them amnesty. He argued passionately that it was the only ‘human solution’.

When he began to tell me that these children and mothers were starving in their nations of origin and only came here to be able to get enough to eat and have a decent quality of life, I presented him with random photographs of some of these illegal aliens being taken into custody.

I pointed out that not only are they well fed and reasonably well dressed, that many of them, children and adults alike, are obese. People who are starving are not obese. People living in abject poverty are not reasonably well dressed and are rarely wearing freshly laundered clothing. I sent along some photos of actual famine victims and children suffering from malnutrition and living in poverty from Africa, India, and the slums of Lima, Peru.

That photographic evidence ended the conversation.

thatsafactjack on July 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

The Dems already have a plan to seize all 401Ks, IRAs etc in an emergency (can you say stroke of a pen)as when debt hits $20T and dollar collapses. I don’t trust this regime any further than Obama can throw a ball.

txdoc on July 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

I have long warned people they will seize your assets.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM

That photographic evidence ended the conversation.

thatsafactjack on July 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Some people will believe anything and the marxists understand that.

crankyoldlady on July 16, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Obama is a traitor by definition — he is ORCHESTRATING this invasion with his State Dept. in Mexico City, which has been CONSPIRING with a foreign government — and BRAGS about it:

http://mexico.usembassy.gov/press-releases/embassy-statement5/embassy-statement.html

Embassy Statement

Mexico City, July 08, 2014 – We applaud yesterday’s announcement by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto regarding Mexico’s strategy for its southern border. The Mexican government has been working on this strategy for more than a year, and has routinely briefed the U.S. government on Mexico’s objectives….

Step one of the Plan is TRANSIT visas for anyone entering Mexico across its southern border ON THE WAY elsewhere (i. e., USA).

Original announcement (google translate yourself):

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion-mexico/2014/impreso/mexico-y-guatemala-protegeran-a-migrantes-216921.html

The president should be defending our country against foreign invasion, not ORCHESTRATING ONE.

I CALL TREASON. Plain and simple.

fred5678 on July 16, 2014 at 5:33 PM

I heard a story on the radio a couple of days ago that provides yet another example of how the ILLEGAL Invaders are playing Americans for FOOLS re: the term “unaccompanied.”

In this case, the father traveled with his wife and children through Mexico from Central America.

When the family reached the U.S. border the wife and kids went over the border and turned themselves in to Border Patrol since they understood that women and children would not be sent back.

Meanwhile the father stayed behind the border until the Border Patrol had left at which point he and other men crossed the border and evaded the Border Patrol.

The family then reunited after they had all successfully crossed the border.

The ILLEGAL Invaders have figured out how to use the term “Unaccompanied” to their advantage.

Americans need to end this farce by DEPORTING ALL ILLEGALS ASAP!

wren on July 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

A US Army division bivouacked in Mexico with armed guards posted every 10 yard would not be safe–let alone unaccompanied children.

Bandits, drug dealers, child molesters and just your every day utter crazies ,who would slice you open just to test blade sharpness, lurk everywhere. Then there’s one of the meanest deserts on earth, bereft of both food and water and infested with rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions-in a country larger than the combined size of the UK, France, Spain and Italy.

Think of an unaccompanied child traveling over 500 miles from the Guatemala border to the US border. Army Rangers, without regular resupply air drops would all die less than half-way.

But if you believe this you probably also believe that Lois Lerner and friends had seven simultaneous hard drive crashes but only on computers carrying incriminating information.

MaiDee on July 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

A sane and loyal American leader would recognize all the actions of Mexico and these Central American countries as an act of war. But then, a sane and loyal American leader would not be conspiring with Mexico and Central America in that act of war. Tell me Speaker Boehner, is treason grounds for impeachment? Or does it have to be treason treason?

yesiamapirate on July 16, 2014 at 10:16 PM