The surge of unaccompanied minors crossing into the United States last year was largely driven by the fear of economic instability, crime and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador; however, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that the executive amnesty orders issued by President Obama also played a part.
The desire to get a better education and to unify families further increased the rush, the GAO says, as did smuggling rings actively promoting illegal immigration. The amount of unaccompanied minors caught at the border between the United States and Mexico in the 2014 fiscal year had risen by almost 45,000 from just two years earlier.
Conservatives say that undocumented immigrants have been encouraged to attempt to cross into the United States by the policies of the Obama administration, an argument they claim has been bolstered by the GAO report. The Washington Times notes that the report makes it clear that Latin America has seen a wave of rumors suggesting that if people could get to the United States then they would not be deported.
An official from the State Department indicated that “some Hondurans believed that comprehensive immigration reform in the United States would lead to a path to citizenship for anyone living in the United States at the time of reform”, adding that smugglers in Guatemala and El Salvador had deliberately spread misinformation among immigrants.