Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told parents from Central America that sending their underage children to the United State alone was illegal and dangerous.
Johnson’s letter was published as an op-ed in several Spanish-language newspapers over the weekend. The letter was titled, “An open letter to the parents of children crossing our Southwest border.”
The letter in full reads:
This year, a record number of children will cross our Southern border illegally into the United States. In the month of May alone, the number of children, unaccompanied by a mother or father, who crossed our southern border reached more than 9,000, bringing the total so far this year to 47,000. The majority of these children come from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, where gang and drug violence terrorize communities. To the parents of these children I have one simple message: Sending your child to travel illegally into the United States is not the solution.
It is dangerous to send a child on the long journey from Central America to the United States. The criminal smuggling networks that you pay to deliver your child to the United States have no regard for his or her safety and well-being – to them, your child is a commodity to be exchanged for a payment. In the hands of smugglers, many children are traumatized and psychologically abused by their journey, or worse, beaten, starved, sexually assaulted or sold into the sex trade; they are exposed to psychological abuse at the hands of criminals. Conditions for an attempt to cross our southern border illegally will become much worse as it gets hotter in July and August.
The long journey is not only dangerous; there are no “permisos,” “permits,” or free passes at the end.
The U.S. Government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also called “DACA,” does not apply to a child who crosses the U.S. border illegally today, tomorrow or yesterday. To be eligible for DACA, a child must have been in the United States prior to June 15, 2007 – seven years ago.
Also, the immigration reform legislation now before Congress provides for an earned path to citizenship, but only for certain people who came into this country on or before December 31, 2011 – two and one half years ago. So, let me be clear: There is no path to deferred action or citizenship, or one being contemplated by Congress, for a child who crosses our border illegally today.
Rather, under current U.S. laws and policies, anyone who is apprehended crossing our border illegally is a priority for deportation, regardless of age. That means that if your child is caught crossing the border illegally, he or she will be charged with violating United States immigration laws, and placed in deportation proceedings – a situation no one wants. The document issued to your child is not a “permiso,” but a Notice To Appear in a deportation proceeding before an immigration judge.
As the Secretary of Homeland Security, I have seen first-hand the children at our processing center in Texas. As a father, I have looked into the faces of these children and recognized fear and vulnerability.
The desire to see a child have a better life in the United States is understandable. But, the risks of illegal migration by an unaccompanied child to achieve that dream are far too great, and the “permisos” do not exist.
The letter was signed, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments