The Current Border Crisis Creates More Immigration Debate

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

Immigration has played a hugely important role in shaping the United States. At the same time, though, immigration has been a polarizing issue for years. Some think immigrants deserve the chance at a better life, while others think immigrants shouldn’t get to stay if they didn’t come legally in the first place. No matter what your opinion is on the subject, there’s no denying that immigration is currently at the center of a very passionate debate.

Over the course of the last year, and more specifically in the last few months, the southwestern border of the United States has seen a major increase in unaccompanied immigrant children. Between the fiscal years of 2013 and 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection saw a 106% increase in the apprehension of children (ages 0-17) along the southwest border of the United States. This amounts to more than 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant children illegally crossing the border so far in 2014. The majority of these immigrant children are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.

What exactly is it that’s motivating thousands of children to seemingly flee to the United States? One explanation is gang violence. In many cases, teenagers are asked to be a part of gangs, and if they refuse, the groups act aggressively against them and their families. So the decision is made to trek to the United States, oftentimes alone and sometimes without any family here in the U.S. A study published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees revealed that only about 36% of the children it interviewed had at least one parent in the United States.

Overall, the number of border apprehensions has increased only slightly, and they remain historically low. But the current flow of unaccompanied immigrant children across the border does present some unique challenges. In the abstract, it might be easy to say that there needs to be a streamlined way of dealing with these immigrant children that is both humane and expeditious. On a human level, though, the thought of turning away children who are fleeing violence and poverty might be hard to stomach. What’s more, under current law, unaccompanied children from Central America cannot be sent back to where they came from without first going through the deportation process. This is in order to insure that we are not sending kids back to a dangerous situation. Authorities must instead process these children and determine whether they have credible proof that they cannot return.

So, if this process takes months, or more likely years, what are we to do with the thousands of children arriving in the U.S. in the meantime? Politicians and civilians alike see many different angles and ways to respond to the situation, making the current crisis, and immigration as a whole, an incredibly divisive issue.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing two experts on immigration with different opinions on how the United States should respond to the issue moving forward. Stay tuned for these perspectives on how the government should respond to the border crisis.

4 thoughts on “The Current Border Crisis Creates More Immigration Debate”

  1. There’s only one thing bringing immigrants here, FREE this,FREE that,FREE ,FREE,FREE,etc,


  3. I am deeply appalled by the turn this border disaster has taken. And now the bumbler in chief has a whole month to screw things up even more!

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