New data shows the White House has painted a false picture of the Central American migration by hiding a huge spike in “family units” who are illegally crossing the Texas border.
The data, which was dumped by the U.S. border patrol late Friday afternoon, shows that inflow of youths and children traveling without parents has doubled since 2013, to 57,525 in the nine months up to July 2014.
But the number of migrants who cross the border in so-called “family units” has spiked five-fold to 55,420, according to the border patrol’s data, which came out amid a storm of news about the shoot-down of a Malaysian aircraft in Ukraine, delays in failed U.S. nuke talks with Iran, and on Hamas’ continued war against Israel.
In the Rio Grande area where most of the migrants are crossing the border, the number of so-called “unaccompanied children” was actually outnumbered by the inflow by adults, parents and children in “family units,” according to the data.
The much-faster growth in “family units” has been hidden by White House and agency officials, who have tried to portray the influx as a wave of children fleeing abuse and violence.
Top officials, such as Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, has explained the influx as a child migration, and justified the government’s welcoming response as acting “in the best interests of the children.” That portrayal has been picked up and spread by Democratic legislators, reporters and bloggers — such as Greg Sargent at The Washington Post and Rachel Lienesch at the Huffington Post — to help mute the public’s growing anger at the Democrats’ failure to guard the border.
However. that effort has largely failed. Most of the unaccompanied youths say they’re aged 14 to 17, and many are seeking jobs. Also, multiple polls shows the majority of Americans — and near-majorities of Latin-Americans — blame Obama for the breakdown. A July Gallup poll shows that the crisis has prompted Americans to identify it as the nation’s leading problem.
White House officials also touted the wave of so-called “unaccompanied children,” and downplayed the “family units,” because they wished to focus the media’s attention on a supposed problem caused by a 2008 law, titled the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
White House officials say the law prevents them from repatriating Central Americans youths and children once they’re legally dubbed “unaccompanied alien children.” Officials also say the 2008 law forces them to settle the youths in the United States until judges decide if they can stay in the country.
The 2008 law was designed to allow severely-traumatized victims of forced trafficking — such as teenage prostitutes held by violent pimps — to apply for green cards in the United States.
In fact, the Central American youths are not being trafficked. Instead, many youths or their parents pay so-called coyotes to help them cross the border, and most are eventually handed over to their parents and relatives living in the United States, often illegally.
If the youths were not deemed to be protected by the 2008 law, other immigration laws would have allowed officials to repatriate them rapidly.
Many of the men, women and children who cross the border in “family units” are temporarily held until they’re transported to cities where they have relatives or friends.
Those resettlement efforts have sparked a growing wave of nationwide protests, and denunciations from governors and federal legislators. Officials have tried to hide the migrant transfers and locations to mute protests.