Immigration Debate May Have Increased Illegal Crossings

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, March 1, 2015

The debate over legalizing illegal immigrants was “a primary cause” of last summer’s surge of Central Americans jumping the U.S.-Mexico border, the Government Accountability Office reported Friday, citing surveys of U.S. officials on the ground in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Crime, gang violence and poverty played major roles in pushing tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children to make the trek, and, to a lesser degree, so did abuse at home and lack of access to good schools.

But the children were also pulled to the U.S. by ties to family already living here and by the belief that even if they crossed illegally, they would be given citizenship, the GAO said after surveying State Department, Homeland Security Department and U.S. Agency for International Development workers in each of the three countries.

“For example, the State official’s response for Honduras reported that some Hondurans believed that comprehensive immigration reform in the United States would lead to a path to citizenship for anyone living in the United States at the time of reform,” the GAO said.

About 60,000 illegal immigrant children from Mexico and the three key Central American countries, traveling without their parents, crossed into the U.S. in fiscal year 2014, with 10,000 coming in May and another 10,000 in June alone.

Tens of thousands more family units–usually mothers with children–also came across, though they have gotten less attention than the unaccompanied minors.


President Obama and his top lieutenants said many of the children were fleeing unspeakable violence back home and should be considered refugees.

Mr. Obama also initially downplayed the role immigration policies in the U.S. had in enticing the illegal crossings, blaming the “push” factors in Central America and discounting any “pull” factors in the U.S.

But Border Patrol agents said most of the children they interviewed believed they could earn tentative status in the U.S. thanks to lax enforcement of immigration laws, and the GAO study backs that up.

Even if the children weren’t eligible for asylum or legal status when they arrived, deportations could take years, giving the youths a chance to disappear into the shadows along with the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • “May?”

    • Oil Can Harry

      And here I thought the Garbage Pail Kids snuck into our country last year so they could get free toys from Glenn Beck…

      • John Smith

        Mormons, like Catholics, seem to have bought into the pro-illegal side of the immigration debate, based on what I see.

  • JackKrak

    In other news, low temperatures may have caused cold.

    • Jason Lewis

      I knew it!

  • JohnEngelman

    We do not need immigrants who are incapable of creating and maintaining successful societies in their own countries. We do not have the obligation to let them into our own country.

    • Bossman

      Most immigrants, even those from Europe, are people who couldn’t succeed in their own societies.

      • Reynardine

        No, only hispanics who cross the border illegally cannot succeed in any civilized society. Illegal immigrants are bad for society by definition, since they skirt its laws and violate its sovereignty.

        People who enter the US legally are phenomenally successful, and could be successful elsewhere, but have decided the US is their best chance for the most success.

    • Johnny Squire

      Please explain what kind of immigrants do we need?

      • JohnEngelman

        There are kinds of immigrants I like. Nevertheless, any immigration has a depressing effect on wages.

        • Johnny Squire

          Are commonality with the host nation’s racial and cultural makeup the requirements you want, or is productivity your only concern?

          • Luca

            We no longer need immigrants in this country or very few at best. However, regardless of that fact, importing people who are not compatible with western society is really self-defeating and suicidal.

            We needed immigrants 100 years ago when we couldn’t fill the factories that were making everything for the US and the world. That’s when we were a manufacturing powerhouse.

            Now without factories, we have no need for mass immigration.

          • Johnny Squire

            We certainly don’t need the mass peasant immigration our masters have forced upon us, especially the type that creates the factions that seek to displace the host population through the ballot box and the crushing taxation of welfare, job losses and crime.

            How I wish the warsheep, who constantly bleat that we need to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here and who can be easily identified by the American flags with which they have wrapped themselves, would please stop g-d dam inviting them in so we don’t have to g-d dam fight them here!

            And how I wish the racehawks, who scream ‘injustice’ at every white accomplishment and can be easily identified by the all the blood oozing from their bleeding hearts, would stop their hypocritical concern for total strangers and instead start paying their fair share of caring for their own.

          • JohnEngelman

            My concern is shrinking incomes for middle class Americans. Otherwise, I enjoy cultural diversity, but I want it to be voluntary and based on merit.

            I am opposed to affirmative action. I enjoy ethnic restaurants, stores, and festivals.

          • Reynardine

            As someone who has sampled ethnic food as cooked by an Indian, and Indian food as served by an Indian restaurant, there’s such a world of difference in actual ethnic activities. You would be better served saving up money to visit wherever you like and participating in authentic facets of their culture instead of ingesting the simulcra pablum that is passed as “ethnic” here in the States. What is thrown around as ethnic cuisine could be easily accomplished by reading an online recipe site and making that to best of your culinary abilities.

            As a bonus, you wouldn’t pollute the natural development of culture within your own country, nor delve into the shallow and ultimately meaningless parade of culture that is the ‘salad bowl’ of plurality.

      • Blackfish

        I’d be okay with more Swedish girls. . .

  • USofAntiWhite

    Obama can’t speak without lying about his anti-White agenda.

  • superlloyd

    ‘President Obama and his top lieutenants said many of the children were fleeing unspeakable violence back home and should be considered refugees.’

    How the Hell would that idiot know?

    Mr. Obama also initially downplayed the role immigration policies in the U.S. had in enticing the illegal crossings, blaming the “push” factors in Central America and discounting any “pull” factors in the U.S.

    As well as being an idiot, that traitor is a brazen liar.

    • phorning

      All of the interviews with the invaders indicates they are not fleeing violence, they are coming for amnesty.

      • SentryattheGate

        And handouts!

        • Ringo Lennon

          And spread their territory. Just like the Muslims in France and the UK.

  • Luca

    The reason they come here is because Obama and Holder have created a sanctuary country. If a republican is elected in 2016 and tries to clean up this train wreck and even deports people on a wholesale level, there will be so many anchor babies that the liberals will have met their goal of exponentially increasing the ranks of Democratic voters.

    • Jason Lewis

      I have no optimism that a Republican will do anything about illegals other than strengthen the border. The majority of the problem is people already here on expired visas. We don’t do much when it comes to deportation.

  • dd121

    I don’t have any sympathy for those 60,000 children. They’re illegals too.

    • SentryattheGate

      The head of the Border Patrol Union says that those “kids” coming to the US border was obviously a planned/orchestrated event between nations, not just happenstance! This is treason by the federal gov’mint; one of their MAIN duties is to protect the states from invasion (Article 4 Section 4 of the US Constitution).

      • dd121

        Obama knows that. He’s supposed to be a constitutional scholar. Makes it all the worse, doesn’t it?

      • ElComadreja

        Many of these “kids” were well into their twenties and thirties.

  • IstvanIN

    If bad behavior is not only not punished but actually encouraged one shouldn’t be surprised that bad behavior increases.

    • Marilyn Rosen

      Right. Look at Ferguson

  • Reynardine

    Just like telling my dogs “treat!” makes them expect one…

  • listenupbub

    There is one wonderful way to “deport” immigrants- stop giving them the handouts they survive on! Jeebus! It is called self-deportation! They’ll head right back home, where they can live on the cheap.

  • ElComadreja

    They sense weakness and exploit it. What else is new?