Allentown
72° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Experts blame current US law for influx of immigrant children

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 09 2014 04:06:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 09 2014 05:43:51 PM CDT

The growing crisis along the border between the United States and Mexico has many wondering what's caused an influx of immigrant children.

The growing crisis along the border has many wondering what's caused the influx of immigrant children, and experts said there may be more than one reason.

“We really have to get down to the root causes of it and see why is it that parents are sending children by themselves through an extraordinarily dangerous border into the desert in the hopes that maybe a border patrol agent is going to find them,” said Jose Campos, an immigration attorney.

Normally, children immigrants are accompanied by a parent, an older sibling or some other adult, but since October 2013, thousands have crossed the border completely by themselves, some reportedly as young as five. So what's causing it?

Immigration attorney Kevin Santos attributes it to a number of issues from growing violence in Central America to a business opportunity for smugglers.

“At $10,000 to $12,000 per person, it's simple math. You're dealing with million upon millions of dollars that are being generated in this new form of business,” said Santos.

The biggest motivation, however, is the current immigration laws, which provide protective status to unaccompanied children.

The United Nations even stepped in on Wednesday, asking that the minors be treated as refugees, which makes it even more likely they'll be allowed to stay in the U.S.

And, it turns out, all of that information is right at our fingertips at the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

“The information that we're talking about here is readily available on the Internet, on the government sites, and it's in Spanish,” said Santos.

Santos added it was only a matter of time before the current laws became exploited.

According to the U.S. Department of Immigration, the majority of refugees are fleeing ethnic or political conflicts as seen in Sudan or Syria.

This would be the first time refugee status would be considered for Central American immigrants fleeing violence and extortion from gangs.