Minors, and those claiming to be minors, from Central America are crashing America’s southern border, and U.S. military bases may be their final stop.
Nearly 14,000 families were apprehended in April, reaching levels last seen in 2014. Now, dusting off an Obama-era program, the Trump administration is eyeing Texas military bases in San Angelo, Abilene, El Paso and elsewhere as temporary quarters for minors.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this week that families with children and unaccompanied minors make up 40 percent of border detainees. U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that more than 200,000 unaccompanied minors illegally entered the United States since 2014.
Frustrated by the influx, the administration is ramping up prosecutions of parents while separating them from their children. The moves have the open-borders crowd crying foul; Nielsen defends the practice:
“It’s no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States when an adult of a family commits a crime. You will be incarcerated by police and separated from your family,” the DHS chief said.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, agrees. “If you simply catch people and let them go [standard operating procedure under Obama], they’ve basically gamed the system.”
Indeed, DHS has concluded that Obama “Catch and Release” policies have done nothing except to encourage the current flood of unaccompanied alien minors.
With Central American families constituting the fastest-growing cohort of illegal aliens, DHS is scrambling to control the chaos at the border. Military bases in the Southwest appear to be the most secure and cost-effective holding facilities for minors while deportation proceedings go forward.
Base housing would certainly be an improvement over a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program that lost track of 1,475 unaccompanied minors placed in homes of “sponsors” last year.
The only rational responses to the border surge are the systematic elimination of rewards for entering the U.S. illegally, more apprehensions and detentions – followed by expeditious deportations for those who have no valid claims to remain in the United States. Failure to swiftly carry out these responsibilities merely invites more border crashing, ensuring further chaos and still higher costs caused by illegal aliens walking free.
Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.