The amount of undocumented immigrants who tried to cross the southwestern border of the United States between the October of last year and January 2016 has increased by more than 50 percent since the corresponding period in 2014-2015.
Since fall 2015, 717 teenagers and children have been transferred to sponsors living in Georgia, forcing the education committees in the state to scramble to try to accommodate the influx of new students.
Underage immigrants have not been able to be deported from the United States since 2008, when President George W Bush signed an anti-human trafficking law. The law required underage immigrants to be fed, housed and given medical care until handed over to a sponsor, who in most cases would be a relative already residing in the country. Despite this provision, they must attend deportation proceedings at federal immigration courts and many end up being deported anyway, which has been the cause of a number of immigration raids in the state.
“We are watching it pretty carefully,” says R Gil Kerlikowske, the US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, who fears that a new bar is being set for future generations by the rise in the number of immigrants. “Perhaps we are seeing a new normal with a lot of people wanting to come across that southern border into the United States.”
Kerlikowske says that while immigration and security standards have been tightened, the construction of a wall would make little difference to the problem.