The number of minors illegally entering the United States from Central America has dropped from the crisis levels in 2014; however, the flow is still brisk, new government data suggests, and immigration experts fear that the arrival of the warmer weather could result in another mass influx.
Over 68,000 unaccompanied minors, primarily from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, were detained in 2014 after entering the United States without authorization; however, the number of arrivals fell dramatically ‒ by 42% in the five months to February 28th this year ‒ compared to the corresponding period last year, US Customs and Border Protection says. “The situation has improved significantly,” declared Marsha Catran, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. The coming season is when arrivals have previously spiked and although the flow has reduced of late, child migration is still expected to equal or exceed 25,000 by the end of September; until a few years ago the annual norm was just 10,000. The arrival of the unaccompanied immigrant minors resulted in the creation of a humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border last summer and a political minefield for President Obama.
The president responded by clamping down hard on smugglers, creating an information campaign intended to discourage young people from crossing the border, and sending South Texas more security resources; however, the already troubled US immigration court system was further strained by the influx of new arrivals.