The New York Times has written an interesting article about the record number of unaccompanied minors making their way from Central America to the United States.
Since Oct. 1, the Times said, “47,017 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the southwest United States border.”
This number probably ties directly to the large number of illegal immigrants being dropped off at bus stations in both Phoenix in Tucson. Some of them are children. Some of them are women traveling with their children.
So why the record number? According to the Times, “a subtle shift in the way the United States treats minors.” There’s more:
Many say they are going because they believe that the United States treats migrant children traveling alone and women with their children more leniently than adult illegal immigrants with no children.
Word is out. Get to America. Here’s why. Robin told The New York Times:
“If you make it, they take you to a shelter and take care of you and let you have permission to stay. When you appeal your case, if you say you want to study, they support you.”
The key word to use is “asylum.” It’s illegal immigration 2.0. Many Central Americans say they are seeking asylum here in the United States, minors especially. The economies in their home countries such as Honduras and El Salvador are poor. Those countries are also riddled with violence. Asylum could potentially free them from that fate and it’s natural to extend sympathy to a minor who travels from Central America through Mexico on their own to try and make a better life for themselves here.
Elizabeth Kennedy told the Times, “A large number (of Central American kids) are forcibly recruited by gangs (there).” That’s part of the reason they come north.
The other part is the game that is America’s immigration system. The ones who leave their home countries think they’ve figured out how to play it. It’s risky to travel thousands of miles as a minor and show up at the American border. There’s no guarantee of success.
But coming here legally means waiting in line, potentially for years. Showing up at the American border and asking for asylum as a minor is a way around the bureaucracy. Illegal immigration 2.0. It’s like the Fast Pass at Disneyland.
The question is how long will the ride stay open?