Approximately 39,000 unaccompanied alien children will enter the United States this fiscal year if the current pace continues, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute. If the report’s prediction holds true, the migration of unaccompanied alien children to America in fiscal year 2015 would be the second largest influx of such children since fiscal year 2008.
The Migration Policy Institute credits the Obama administration with stemming the flow of unaccompanied alien children, and notes that more than 68,000 such children came through in fiscal year 2014. At the time, the report states, the Obama administration “successfully checked the immediate crisis, but they focused exclusively on immediate needs rather than longer-term solutions and they failed either to adequately protect vulnerable immigrants or to prevent future unauthorized flows.”
Many thousands of illegal immigrant children also crossed the southern border as part of “family units” during last summer’s border crisis. In fiscal year 2015, the report estimates that the government will apprehend approximately 35,000 family units, which is more than double the number of family units that came across the border in fiscal year 2013.
#related#The number of unaccompanied alien children and family units crossing the southern border has not matched the massive influx that occurred last summer. While Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officials are preparing for another surge of illegal immigrant children, many Central Americans could choose instead to apply for the In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Central American Minors, operated by the Departments of State and Homeland Security. The program provides government-sponsored airfare to America for unmarried children under age 21 in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with a parent lawfully present in the U.S., and admitted refugees may collect various federal benefits. While this program is unlikely to supplant illegal immigrants’ preferred pathway to the U.S., it may be one reason that the number of children that the federal government counts as having “illegally” crossed the southern border is down this year.