D.C. And L.A. Getting More ‘Border Children’

The Los Angeles Times is breaking down where the children caught illegally crossing the border are going, noting that cities like Washington with large populations from the originating countries are getting the most newcomers. The Times says reports that D.C. “… is home to an estimated 165,000 Salvadoran immigrants, the nation’s second-largest population after the Los Angeles area’s 275,000, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The capital region had 42,000 immigrants from Guatemala and 30,000 from Honduras.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families reports that 2,234 unaccompanied minors were released to sponsors in Virginia between Jan. 1 and July 7, ranking the state fifth after Texas, New York, Florida and California. It’s not noted in the story, but those numbers are expected to accelerate as tens of thousands of children being held are processed into the Immigration Court system.

Border Cases Expedited Over Backlog

The tens of thousands of “border children” immigration cases are being moved to the front of the line in immigration courts, often moving ahead of people who have waited for years to have their day in court, says a Sacramento Bee newspaper report. The story follows a San Francisco immigration court where two judges were assigned “special dockets.”
“The border surge cases are now getting top billing on our dockets, and this immigration court has already been resource-deprived to the point of being anorexic,” said one of the judge quoted in the report. That judge had 2,482 cases on her docket July 25, before the surge of cases began arriving.
The flood of new cases is straining a court that was already overtaxed before tens of thousands of children started crossing illegally into the United States, says the report.

Mercury News Blasts Border Crisis Response

The San Jose Mercury News is blasting the government response to the border crisis of unaccompanied children, saying that  “… surely the United States will meet this hemisphere’s crisis in a humane manner befitting its history” and outlining that the “policy” crisis is really a funding crisis.

“Republicans have wanted to fund enforcement but not judges,” asserts the paper. “There are just 243 nationwide. Los Angeles County alone has more than 400 judges on its Superior Court. There’s no way the immigration judges can keep up, let alone catch up… refugees from violence are a worldwide challenge. People fleeing wanton slaughter in places like Somalia, Syria and Uganda often end up in nearby countries that are ill-equipped for the influx. But they try.”

The editorial is being picked up around California, and you can read it here: Another View: July 21, 2014

US House Drops Border-Crisis Bill

BREAKING NEWS: The U.S. House of representatives has dropped a bill that would have provided some $659 million in funding to address the 60,000 unaccompanied children that have arrived on the southwest border. The Huffington Post noted that “… the bill had significant opposition from Democrats, but GOP leadership decided to add a separate vote, if the first were to pass, on a measure meant to bring on conservative support: ending a key Obama policy that allows undocumented young people in the U.S. for years to remain in the country.

Citing other reports, HuffPo says the GOP needed to get to 218 votes but managed only 214.

The HuffPo backgrounder graf is pretty good: “More than 57,500 unaccompanied children and teenagers have been apprehended after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally since October, overwhelming a system already plagued by backlogs and in need of significant resources. President Barack Obama requested $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis, and Senate Democrats proposed a $2.7 billion package. House Republicans introduced a bill to approve just a fraction of that sum — with the possibility of appropriating more funds later — with conditions many Democrats oppose, such as changing a 2008 law so unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada can be deported more quickly and sending the National Guard to the border.”

Read the report here: