Despite Push for Tougher Immigration Laws, Number of Children Crossing the Mexican Border Continues to Rise
Despite tougher immigration laws, increased checkpoints and previously reporting a drop in the number of immigrants crossing into the United States illegally, Border Patrol agents are now seeing an increase in the number of children trying to cross the border from Mexico.
The East Valley Tribune in Arizona reports that about 3,000 juveniles, some only months old and many traveling alone, were repatriated to Mexico from Nogales, AZ between January and September 2010, according to Alfonso Vera Sanchez, Mexican consul for protection at the Nogales Mexican consulate.
“We have the biggest number of unaccompanied minors repatriated every day,” Sanchez said to the East Valley Tribune.
Over the past year, the Department of Homeland Security has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology and resources to the Southwest border and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol since 2004. On the state level, Arizona recently proposed a new round of controversial immigration restrictions that will bar illegal immigrants from driving in Arizona, enrolling in school or receiving public benefits. Children of illegal immigrants will have special birth certificates indicating that Arizona does not consider them Arizona citizens, reports the New York Times.
For 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection also reports that Border Patrol apprehensions, which are a key indicator of illegal immigration, were 463,000, down 36 percent over the past two years.
In addition to an increase in children immigrants, the Mexican consulate in Nogales has also seen an increase in missing persons and they continue to see more people with criminal histories attempting to enter the U.S.
To help combat the immigration issue, the Mexican government is stepping up efforts to spread awareness on the dangers involved in crossing to the U.S. illegally.