What is causing the latest Central American immigration surge?

An increasing number of children and families from Central America are crossing into Texas via the Rio Grande Valley in a repeat of the summer 2014 humanitarian crisis. While the United States is now better equipped to deal with the influx, the problem shows no sign of abating.

“It’s honestly the next chapter in an ongoing crisis,” says the president of Washington non-profit organization Kids in Need of Defense, Wendy Young. The organization represents unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings. “We are wondering what comes next. There is a reality to this situation that we need to wrap our head around.” The increase in the number of immigrants crossing the border has caused concern, as such incidences initially declined following better enforcement of the border by Mexico with assistance from the United States and a Central American public awareness campaign launched by the Obama administration to discourage people from immigrating.

Increases in border crossings are also more common during the summer months, making the recent spike even more surprising. People traffickers were only temporarily impeded by the changes and have simply found new ways to get desperate people into the United States.

“Everything that was going on in 2014 that caused people to flee is as bad or worse now,” says the Migration Policy Institute’s deputy director of US immigration policy, Marc Rosenblum. Some border officials are blaming the increased influx on federal rulings that have resulted in families being detained for much less time, encouraging others to attempt to cross into the US.