The Biden administration’s current policy at the border is to reject all people coming in on health grounds with the exception of unaccompanied minors. I suggested yesterday that this policy was probably leading to family members deciding to send kids across the border alone, knowing they would not be deported.
Here’s another thing which I’d bet is true but which I don’t see anyone saying in print or on TV. Some of these young kids, especially the ones under 10, did not travel 1,000 miles from Central America on their own. Some of them came here with their parents but are now being sent across the border alone because word has gone out that they can get in if they cross alone. In other words, there is almost certainly some child separation happening at the border but no one is going to talk about it because it can’t be blamed on Republicans.
I was right about what was happening but wrong about no one talking about it. Yesterday an immigration attorney named Amy Maldonado told NBC News that parents were indeed choosing to send children to cross the border alone:
While the number of children in Border Patrol custody is setting new records once again this week, immigration lawyers tell NBC News that some migrant families are choosing to send their children to the southern border alone because they see it as the best chance for remaining in the U.S…
“Still intact families who are desperate for their children’s safety are going to send their children to cross alone,” said immigration attorney Amy Maldonado, adding that the decision to send a child without a parent makes sense especially for those who have family members who can take care of the child in the U.S…
Maldonado said the high numbers of unaccompanied children show parents are making a difficult choice.
“I feel like a lot of this could be avoided if intact families were processed through the border and allowed to seek asylum,” Maldonado said.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration keeps telling potential migrants the border is closed. As Jazz pointed out this morning, President Biden told George Stephanopoulos his message to people in Central America was “Don’t leave your town or city or community.” He went on to flatly deny that he had encouraged the current surge. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it, but here’s what CNN found when it spoke to migrants just arriving in Texas on rafts last Thursday [emphasis added]:
Roxana Rivera, 28, said she and her 6-year-old daughter left Honduras after back-to-back November hurricanes destroyed her home and everything in it.
Word back home, Rivera said, was that the US was now allowing people with children to freely cross the border — which wasn’t entirely true. She heard that on the news, she said. Relatives in the US relayed the same information. Other migrants had similar stories.
It’s not true that the border is open to anyone with a child, though the women quoted in this story apparently weren’t deported. U.S. border policy is like a game of telephone with smugglers always eager to make the journey and its chances of success sound better than they actually are. But in this case what people in Honduras are hearing is partly true. The border is now open to children and that is definitely going to create an impetus, as noted above, for parents to make a difficult choice. Do they wait for CBP to fly them home as a family or send their child across the border alone, clutching the phone number of other family members who are already in the U.S.?
The answer to that question is clearly the latter for many parents based upon the 13,000 children currently in CBP custody. If you have an adult who can pick up your child on this side of the border, now is your chance to get them into the U.S. That’s the message that is going to resonate with many thousands of migrant parents. President Biden can keep pretending this has nothing to do with him but no one in the media should by playing along. This is a self-created crisis and it’s only likely to get worse as the weather warms.
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