Here's a word from the Department of Homeland Security: Hey, places in Central America we don't want you to keep sending kids over the border. The response to the drastic increase in minors crossing into the U.S. by themselves, mostly from places in Central America, continues this week.
Sen. Ted Cruz and state Atty. General Greg Abbot on Monday visited a temporary shelter for immigrant children in San Antonio. They returned from their tour with stories of horror and ammo to scold President Barack Obama for his immigration policies they say led to this mess.
"Cruz and Abbott say they were told stories of children being ordered by human traffickers to cut off fingers and ears of other kids as a way of extorting," reports CBS.
The solution Abbott and Cruz are pushing for includes tightening the border and cutting any chance that these kids get amnesty for their tales of escaping abuse or gang violence in their own countries.
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In an open letter, op-ed sent out today by Jeh C. Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, he told parent to stop sending their kids here.
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.
Of course this is the kind of truth parents living in a slum in Honduras are looking for, and who knows if it'll help stem the tide. Kicking these kids as young as toddlers, back across the border might not be the most humanitarian thing to do in many cases, but it's something Republicans will probably be happiest with.