With the comprehensive immigration bill that was passed last June by the Senate having stalled in the House of Representatives, those opposed to such reform have focused many of their criticisms on the issue of border security. A combination of factors, such as poor economies in their home countries and increased gang violence, has resulted in an unprecedented number of immigrant minors crossing into the US unaccompanied.
Many of these youngsters are said to have heard rumors in Central America that changes to policy in the United States would allow those aged under 18 to stay in the country indefinitely. In the 2012 fiscal year 13,625 unaccompanied minors crossed the border. More than 42,000 unaccompanied immigrant youngsters have already entered the US in 2014, tripling the figure in just two years, and there is no sign that the number will drop any time soon.
The major impact is being felt in the south-west; however, the young people entering the United States are doing so in such vast numbers that even New York City is now starting to feel the effect, with many of the youngsters being sent to relatives in metropolitan areas after initial processing.
As yet there is no available data on just how many undocumented minors have been sent to the Big Apple, but the Central American Legal Assistance director in Brooklyn, Anne Pilsbury, claims that the influx has already been very noticeable. “All of a sudden it went from a trickle to more like a river,” she told the New York Times.