Politics

Media Ignores Inflow Of 35,000 Migrant Youths

Neil Munro White House Correspondent

The government-facilitated inflow of Central American migrant children and youths into U.S. schools and workplaces is at least 50 percent larger than has been reported by most establishment media outlets.

The media has copied President Barack Obama’s focus on 68,000 so-called “unaccompanied children,” but has mostly ignored the equally large inflow of 68,000 parents and minors who crossed the border in so-called “family units.”

The media coverage has minimized the apparent impact of the 110,000 poorly educated migrant minors on Americans’ neighborhoods and schools. For example, the migrants’ arrival in the schools has shifted a large amount of resources away from poor and low-skilled American kids.

The skewed coverage was illustrated Oct. 10 when various media outlets reported the Oct. 9 claim by Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson that 68,434 “unaccompanied children” have crossed the border since September 2013.

That 68,434 number was widely reported by the media, even though Johnson also admitted to the journalists that the inflow of “unaccompanied children” was matched by an equally large inflow of “family units.”

“A lot of the spike that we saw this summer were not just unaccompanied kids,” Johnson said. “Unaccompanied kids got the most attention. But a lot of it, perhaps on the same numbers, if not larger, were what we call family units — parents with kids, which is what you’re asking me about,” he told the reporters.

But the reporters ignored Johnson’s admission.

“In all, 68,434 minors without their parents were detained along the border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30,” Julia Preston wrote Oct. 10 in The New York Times.

“‘The worst is over for now,’ Mr. Johnson said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,” Preston wrote.

The Washington Post’s Jerry Markon also highlighted Johnson’s claim that “the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border in fiscal 2014 turned out to be 68,434.”

Neither Preston nor Markon mentioned Johnson’ admission that the inflow of people in “family units” was as large as the inflow of so-called “unaccompanied children” most of whom said they were older than 14.

The liberal Huffington Post followed the same pattern. “Johnson tried to dispel rumors and dial back fears … [and] said the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended in fiscal year 2014 was 68,434 — considerably lower than a projection of 90,000,” Elise Foley wrote.

However, Foley briefly mentioned the parallel inflow of parents with youths and kids. “Johnson said that given the increase this year in families crossing the border — even though the numbers have dropped recently — DHS needed to make sure it could detain them,” Foley wrote.

Shortly after Johnson’s speech, his Customs and Border Patrol agency announced that 68,541 “unaccompanied children” were accepted at the border by federal agencies from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014. The inflow of Central Americans arriving in family units reached 68,445, said the announcement.

That 68,445 “family unit” inflow was slightly greater than Johnson’s Oct. 9 claim of 68,434 unaccompanied children and youths, and ensured the flow of minors slightly outpaced the flow of “family units.”

The minors were escorted by smugglers from Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, through Mexico to the federal agencies in Texas. The youths were handed over to the agencies, who then sent them, gratis, to their parents and relations in cities throughout the United States. Officials also allowed them to file lawsuits in court to win residency and eventually citizenship.

The minors are migrating “in search of a family member and a better life in this country,” Johnson told the reporters Oct. 9.

The true number of incoming youths is uncertain, partly because many may be adults. Border agencies do little to gauge the true age of the border crossers, who have an strong incentive to claim they are aged 17 or below. That’s because adults aged 18 and older are quickly returned to their home countries, while younger migrants are allowed to ask judges for residency permits.

The White House is also allowing the vast majority of people arriving in “family units” to file lawsuits seeking residency.

At least half of the “family unit” migrants are children because each “family unit” is defined as a group that includes at least one parent and one related person below age 18.

Fathers and adults travel north separately, and must dodge border guards.

The combination of “unaccompanied children” and children in “family units” means than the inflow of children and youths is at least 110,000, not 68,434 as reported by established media outlets.

The media’s choice to downplay the inflow of “family units” has also skewed articles about the growing number of migrant children in U.S. schools.

For example, The Washington Post reported Oct. 9 that “officials in three Northern Virginia counties are scrutinizing the costs of educating the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied immigrant children” sent to the state by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The article did not mention the many additional children and youths arriving with one parent in the so-called “family units.”

The migrant family-unit children will likely double the impact on Americans’ classrooms because they tend to be younger and will likely stay in school longer than the teenagers and youths who are arrived without parents.

They’re expected to have a large impact on classrooms with American students, partly because they lack basic skills, but also because few speak English, and some even are poor Spanish speakers.

The migrants absorb resources that could otherwise go to the American students, including many Hispanic and African-American students. Unsurprisingly, many American parents — including Latin-American parentsoppose Obama’s unprecedented support for foreign migrants.

“Fairfax schools would spend more than $14 million to educate the 1,131 [unaccompanied minors] over the course of a full school year if they all enrolled, based on a per-pupil cost of $14,755 for each English language-learner in the county’s schools,” according to Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity, the Post reported.

The inflow of “family units” has grown much faster since October 2013 than the inflow of smuggled minors.

The inflow of “unaccompanied children” number this year is 77 percent higher than the 2013 inflow of 38,759 youths and children. But “family unit apprehensions” rose almost quadrupled from the 2013 number of 14,855, up to 68,445, according to an October release by the Customs and Border Patrol agency.

That was a 361 percent increase in one year.

The 2014 inflow of migrant children was not a surprise, Johnson admitted to the reporters during his Oct. 9 speech. His aides had predicted 60,000 Central American migrants would arrive at the border by September 2014, he said.

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