Despite the Obama administration’s insistence in 2014 that illegal border crossings from Mexico are “an urgent humanitarian situation”, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing over has soared to over 10,000 over the last two months in a new surge.
US Border and Customs Protection is reporting a 106 percent increase from last year’s October 1-November 30 period, with 10,588 children apprehended, compared to last year’s 5,129. The same can be said of family detentions to an even larger degree: The October 1-November 30 period last year saw 4,577 arrests whereas there were 12,505 over the same period in 2015 – a 176 percent increase.
“We continue to aggressively work to secure our borders, address underlying causes and deter future increases in unauthorized migration, while ensuring that those with legitimate humanitarian claims are afforded the opportunity to seek protection,” the border service said in a statement.
Following President Barack Obama’s announcement of a new strategy to tackle the problem, measures were implemented in the form of a new plan to allow young children to apply for refugee status in the US – something meant to discourage them from risky and illegal crossings.
Additionally, 150 more Border Patrol guards were stationed in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas – the place with the largest concentration of illegally-crossing unaccompanied minors.
But according to DC-based NGO Kids in Need of Defense, human smugglers have been adapting their tactics, part of which includes changing the routes used to cross over.
“The smugglers have adjusted their routes and they’re working around those border control points that the Mexicans have put in place, finding new routes,” the organization’s president Wendy Young told NBC News.