New shelters are opening on the border between Mexico and the United States to cope with the rising number of unaccompanied immigrant minors attempting to enter the US, primarily from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to the New York Times.
This October saw double the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors trying to cross the border than in October 2014, with almost 4,500 apprehended, KNPR reports. Border Patrol officials claim that the minors are generally happy to turn themselves in and do not attempt to run away, hoping to be given asylum. El Salvador has been one of the biggest contributors to immigration to the United States, having become the world’s homicide capital as a result of gang violence.
Border officials claim that their operations are not yet being strained by the increased influx of unaccompanied immigrant minors; however, the Department of Homeland Security’s Marsha Catron says the decision to open new shelters was taken “out of an abundance of caution”.
“We are closely monitoring current trends and coordinating across the whole of government to ensure an effective response to any changes in migration flows,” says a statement released by US Customs and Border Patrol. “We are diligently working 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.”