The request was made in response to the many well-documented reports of an overwhelming surge of illegal immigrants crossing our Southern border, including (according to administration estimates) 52,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Central America, who have been apprehended at the border since October.
Because underage illegal aliens, especially those who come from countries that do not border the United States, cannot be easily deported, they are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to be housed in shelters, including many on military bases. Conditions in these shelters are reportedly extremely poor, which is why the crisis has often been referred to as a “humanitarian” crisis, rather than a national security crisis. But it is unquestionably both.
In an analysis of the presidential appropriations request, Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigrations Studies had this to say:
While administration leaders publicly claim they are working to effectively stem the tide of arrivals and ensure their speedy removal, everything about the budget request suggests this is more about resettlement, prolonging removal proceedings into infinity, and then quietly letting the tens of thousands of most recent arrivals recede into the woodwork of society to join the more than 840,000 aliens who are already fugitives from immigration courts around the country.
As we noted in our article on July 8, even a recently released Department of Homeland Security report acknowledged that the government’s failure to deport those who have entered the United States illegally is among the “pull factors” prompting more people to follow suit. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) stated last March, “Less than 0.2% of the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants and visa overstays in the U.S. were placed into removal proceedings who did not have serious criminal convictions on their record.”
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