Parental Guidance Pulls Unaccompanied Minors Into U.S.



If you’re looking for reasons why so many unaccompanied minors are crossing America’s southern border, look to their parents who are already here.

In earlier waves of arrivals, 60 percent of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) were handed over to parents illegally residing in the United States. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, in the Southern District of Texas, wrote of several instances in which parents “initiated the conspiracy to smuggle minors into the country illegally.”

“In each case, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) completed the criminal conspiracy, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, by delivering the minors into the custody of the parent living illegally in the United States,” Hanen stated in 2013.

During a UAC surge in 2017, then-DHS Secretary John Kelly wrote: “Tragically, many of these children fall victim to robbery, extortion, kidnapping, sexual assault and other crimes of violence by smugglers and other criminal elements along the dangerous journey through Mexico to the United States.”

Though Kelly called for “proper enforcement of our immigration laws,” rules governing Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) placements of unaccompanied minors can frustrate that objective.

“The fact that most UACs are released to their parents, and that Congress has blocked HHS from sharing information about sponsors with DHS for removal purposes, suggests that loopholes in lax immigration laws are encouraging parents illegally in the United States to pay smugglers to bring their children to this country,” says Andrew Arthur at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The presence of those parents in the U.S. undermines the claims of fear for their children who remained abroad. “It is difficult to conceive of a scenario in which parents would willfully abandon children in a perilous situation in order to escape to safety themselves,” notes Arthur. Yet the standard media narrative is a dewy-eyed tale of family reunions, with no reference to parents’ immigration status or their role in getting their charges here.

UAC flows will surely persist as long as illegal aliens in the U.S. can continue to pull progeny north without fear of their own removal. “I am unaware of any parent [being]prosecuted for paying a smuggler to bring his or her child illegally to this country,” Arthur reported this week.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.