Border Patrol expects surge of migrant children just in time for GOP convention

Joel Gehrke
Washington Examiner
March 23, 2016

Border Patrol officials are bracing for another influx of unaccompanied children coming through the border this summer, a crisis that could diminish border security and would certainly affect the 2016 presidential elections.

The number of children who arrive this summer "may exceed" the thousands who made the trip from Central America in 2014. "And it makes it more likely that security risks can take advantage of that situation and penetrate our border, simply riding the tide of the high volume of processing that has to occur," Jan Ting, a Temple University Law professor who testified Wednesday before a House hearing about immigration and border security policy, told Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga. "And looking at [fiscal] 2016, I think a lot of us think we're confronting that situation this year."

If that holds true, then border states face another summer humanitarian crisis. In 2014, the surge provoked a flurry of legislation in response to the problem. The experts proposed a variety of ways to mitigate the problem, but Congress will be out for an extended summer recess due to the presidential elections.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed Ting's projections. "As of January 31 this fiscal year, CBP has apprehended more than 20,000 [unaccompanied children], compared to approximately 10,000 apprehended during the same period last year," acting chief Ronald Vitiello said in his prepared remarks. "As we enter the traditional season of higher migration, we are closely monitoring this situation and working with our partners to ensure that resources and capabilities are in place to accommodate an increased number of [unaccompanied children], and to maintain safe, orderly processing of children that CBP encounters, without disrupting CBP's vital border security mission."