From VOA Learning English, this is In the News.
This year, 52,000 children have entered the United States from Mexico without a family member or guardian. The children are mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. U.S. border patrol agents detain most of the boys and girls.
Normally, Mexican citizens who are caught are quickly returned to Mexico. People from other countries are processed through the immigration court system.
By law, children cannot be sent back alone. They must be processed through the Office of Refugee Resettlement or put under the care of family members living in the United States.
Shawn Moran is Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council. He describes what U.S. agents have seen recently along the Rio Grande River border with Mexico.
Central American immigrant children were being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
“Most time people that are crossing the border illegally attempt to evade Border Patrol. But in these cases, Border Patrol agents are being actively sought out. People (the children) are waiting in very conspicuous places to be apprehended by the Border Patrol.”
Michael McCaul is a member of both the Republican Party and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He says the Obama administration should have predicted the large numbers of unaccompanied children.
“The tragic fact is these children are making a dangerous journey based on misinformation and the false promise of amnesty.”
Congressman McCaul says areas along the Mexico border -- like his home state of Texas -- are unable to deal with so many children. He wants President Obama to take action.
“States should not need to protect what is in the federal government’s role under our Constitution.”
The Obama administration rejected putting National Guards troops along the border. Last week, the administration also announced plans to open more detention centers to house the children.
Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson belongs to Mr. Obama’s Democratic Party. Mr. Thompson rejected the blame from Republicans.
“It is irresponsible to attribute this crisis to one U.S. policy, or for that matter to one U.S. president.”
Some Republican lawmakers have called for more fences and tougher security along the border. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers represents Alabama. He says the crisis is avoidable.
“I have been there. I know what I am talking about. And we don’t have a fence down there, and if [we] did, we would not have five-year-old children coming across.”
Tristan Reed is a Mexico security expert. He says the drug trade is largely to blame for people leaving Central America.
“They are escaping from legitimate drug wars that are going on in their cities and municipalities.”
He says poverty also influenced the decision of many parents to send their children to the United States.
Jeh Johnson is the head of the Department of Homeland Security. He calls the migration of Central American children a humanitarian crisis.
“We are talking about large numbers of children, without their parents, who have arrived at our border, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, scared and vulnerable. How we treat the children, in particular, is a reflection of our laws and our values.”
He adds that the U.S. government is required by law to provide care for the children.
And that’s In the News from VOA Learning English. I’m Mario Ritter.
This report is based on stories by VOA reporters Greg Flakus and Cindy Seine.
For the latest information on this story, go to VOANews.com.