Immigration Reform News 2014: Number of Honduran Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Doubles as Mexican Rates Slip
The Department of Homeland Security disclosed the number of unaccompanied undocumented immigrant children that have entered the southern U.S. According to Customs and Border Protection, more children from Honduras traveled into the U.S. than from Mexico and other Central American countries.
So far, 17,582 unaccompanied undocumented children have come to the U.S. from Honduras during 2014. CBP recorded only 6,747 Honduran children entered the U.S. in 2013. In 2009, CBP apprehended only 968 Honduran minors.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 60 percent of the 573,000 Honduran immigrants in the U.S. are "unauthorized." Problems in their home country, including insufficient economic and social conditions, have caused problems for Hondurans. In 2013, the World Bank noted 64.5 percent of Hondurans lived in poverty, higher than other Central American countries like El Salvador and Guatemala. Economic growth in Honduras has also declined in 2013 from 4 percent to 2.2 percent based on an International Monetary Fund's evaluation.
The Department of Homeland Security notes Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the region, with approximately 90 murders per 100,000 inhabitants each year, more than twice the rate of El Salvador or Guatemala.
According to the Pew Research Center, the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula -- reportedly the "largest source of unaccompanied minors" -- is the world's "murder capital." The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that organized crime and street gangs accounted for 34.8 percent of all Honduran homicides in 2010.
The CBP's apprehension figures for unaccompanied children from El Salvador also increased to 14,591 so far this year, an increase from 5,990 minors in 2013. Guatemalan minors also entered the U.S. in large numbers as the CBP apprehended 15,733 unaccompanied children.
However, there was a decline in the number of Mexican unaccompanied children. During 2013, 17,240 unaccompanied children from Mexico were apprehended in the U.S., but the number dropped to 13,675 for 2014, so far. The rate of arival for Mexican unaccompanied children is the lowest since 2011, when 11,768 minors entered the U.S.
For 2015, the White House said up to 150,000 undocumented children will enter the U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to provide recommendations and the legal options to help address the immigration crisis. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama could use executive action in late August or early September.
"The time frame for that review is the end of the summer, and the President expects to carefully consider [the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department] review and act on it relatively quickly," Earnest said.
Earnest said the president's decision to use executive action is the result of congressional failure. He added that Obama "would be happy" to sign common-sense legislation by Congress.
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