Central Americans Again Surging Across Border in Sign U.S. Policies Have Failed

Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy DC, December 30, 2016

A new surge of migrants have rushed to the U.S. border this fall as deportations of those here illegally have dropped to the lowest levels in nearly a decade.

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It also raises questions about whether the United States is prepared for a new surge and about the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s strategy to curb the flow through a combination of immigration enforcement and humanitarian assistance to the nations from which the migrants come.

The number of apprehensions along the border rose by 42 percent in October and November compared with the same two-month period in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. The 93,405 apprehensions were the most in any October-November period in at least five years.

Among those, 43,000 were unaccompanied children or children traveling with parents and the vast majority of those—nearly 40,000—traveled from Central America.

At the same time, the Obama administration has continued to curtail the number of deportations. A separate Pew analysis of Fiscal 2015 data found that the administration deported 333,341 unauthorized immigrants, a 20 percent drop from the prior year. It’s the lowest level of deportations since 2007, during the George W. Bush administration, according to Pew.

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The administration promised to bring the situation under control by expanding the number of people who could apply to the U.S. refugee program and by working with Congress to secure $750 million to help El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras fight poverty and violence as well as reform their governments.

But families continue to flee Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, three of the most violent countries in the world.

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