Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright Scholar at the American Immigration Council recently wrote a nice piece on why Central American children are arriving in droves at the southern U.S. border.
Despite claims of certain U.S. politicians, the Obama administration's August 2012 implementation of the "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" policy is not among the reasons for the influx of children arriving from Central America. Instead, the reasons are: (1) organized crime, gangs, and violence in their home countries; (2) extreme poverty in rural areas; (3) no support from the governments of their home countries; and to a lesser extent, (4) family reunification in the United States.
Also noted by Kennedy is that many families who are removed from the U.S. (or who are returned via voluntary departure) to their home countries face additional threats of violence and extortion.
Immigration policies already in place, such as Temporary Protected Status, have alleviated similar concerns in the past. It is not as if remedies for this influx of children do not exist. Lawmakers simply need to recognize the need for humanitarian relief, and enact clear laws to address such need.
Brandon Gillin is an immigration lawyer with Genesis Law Firm, PLLC in Everett, Washington.