A deluge of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing over America’s southern border and the warehousing of children in makeshift facilities is focusing the nation’s attention on the problems associated with the influx of illegal immigrants into the country. On Friday, the Obama administration appeared to acknowledge that their immigration enforcement policies may have contributed to that influx.
“The Obama administration, stepping up efforts to reduce the influx of Central American migrants crossing the Southwest border illegally and acknowledging that its border policies may have helped spur it, will detain more of those migrants and accelerate their cases in immigration courts so they can be deported more quickly, officials said,” a report in Friday’s New York Times began.
The move comes as the administration is trying to quell rampant rumors throughout Central America that American border authorities are offering entry permits to parents traveling with young children after they are caught.
Cecilia Munoz, the director of the White House domestic policy council, told the Times that a “misperception of how we apply our immigration policies” is partially responsible for the recent inflow of Central American migrants and their children.
Beyond a misunderstanding of American policy, some illegal immigrants are also confused about America’s immigration processes. “Migrants unfamiliar with the American system have been confusing the notice to appear in court, the immigration equivalent of an indictment, with a permit to stay in the United States,” the Times report continued.
The White House has endeavored to make addressing the plight of the children of illegal immigrants the spearhead of an effort to reform the country’s immigration system. A 2012 executive action, which enacted portions of the DREAM Act, allowed for eligible children of illegal immigrants access to deferred action on their immigration status and the ability to apply for work authorization.
On Friday, BuzzFeed reported that Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce the establishment of new family-detention centers at the border as a stopgap measure to prevent a humanitarian crisis.