While Capitol Hill mourns the death of immigration reform, a "surge" of thousands of migrants — mostly children — are arriving at our border, straining Border Patrol resources and reminding everyone of the need for immigration reform. Guess no one told them about Eric Cantor's primary loss.
What is 'the surge'?
"The surge" is what immigration advocates and government officials call the rapid increase in the number of undocumented child immigrants from Central America. Between late 2011 and 2013 the number of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border jumped from under 20,000 to more than 40,000, according to Mother Jones. This year officials expect to apprehend 60,000 children.
Why is this happening now?
There are three factors behind the surge in immigration
- A desire to reunite with family members
- Lenient government policies — child migrants think they'll be allowed to stay if they make it to America.
- Growing violence and instability in Central America
Families reuniting is self-explanatory, but there's been a question over whose lenient government policies are pulling children in. Anti-immigration critics argue that it's President Obama's tactics, including a 2012 program to delay deportation for some minors. The problem is that policy 1) doesn't apply to new immigrants and 2) was enacted after "the surge" began, as Vox explains. The U.S. is more lenient on child migrants because of a 2008 law passed by Congress to fight human trafficking. Regardless, there is a sense that children who get to the U.S. will be allowed to stay.