One of the most alarming immigration reports in recent memory has captured the attention of both the United States Congress and the Obama Administration. The report states that through the first six months of 2014, around 90,000 undocumented immigrants have gained access through the U.S.- Mexico border. The majority of these immigrants have come from Central American nations, notably Guatemala and Honduras. Another aspect of this massive immigration effort that is concerning is the fact that nearly half of the immigrants have been unaccompanied minors; children who face a life of street crime or possible exploitation. Now, President Obama is planning to request almost two billion dollars in aid to help secure the border from individuals crossing illegally. Will these new security measures along the southern U.S. border curb undocumented immigration?
Of course, aside from the blatant obstructionism that has punctuated the tenure of this latest Congress, President Obama faces harsh questions about the effectiveness of the proposal to employ more border agents, build additional detention facilities, and institute a plan for immediate deportations. As it currently stands, the holding areas are completely overwhelmed and lack the resources to maintain basic care for the thousands of children that have been detained so far.
While many people in the government are working on the plan to stem the tide, others are looking for the socio-political causes of this large immigration attempt. The investigations have found that the increased presence of drug cartels, the fear that the children will be forced to join a cartel, and a destabilized economy have all contributed to this influx of immigrants who are mostly women and children. As such, one of the main talking points is whether or not the proposed new security measures along the border will be able to actually stop people from crossing the border and curb undocumented immigration.
It appears that the federal government plans to take several steps that would convince the immigrants that it is simply not worth coming to the United States. First, the southern border states will receive increased patrols along the most commonly traveled areas as well as additional fencing. There will be an increased presence of aerial reconnaissance to track movements of large groups; part of a push for the utilization of technology in border security. The second degree of security will involve new detention and processing centers that are equipped to perform deportations at a much faster rate from a logistics standpoint. One of the most interesting measures that is being considered is the status of a young child in the country. While Obama has outlined a clearer path to citizenship, the power of the courts has been limited by an appeals process that typically allows minors to stay in the country under the guard of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Due to the dire circumstances, Obama has expressed interest in changing the law so that anyone, even children, can be deported to their country of origin unless they are registered to be in the country legally.
While this has been regarded as one of the boldest moves that the president has made in recent months, these measures appear to be geared towards helping the immigrants in the long term rather than merely punishing them. Deportation means that the undocumented immigrants will be shown the proper way to gain citizenship in the United States. Moreover, by seeing the new futility in trying to cross a more secured border and not being able to exploit loopholes in the law, fewer parents will be inclined to send their children on the dangerous trek into the United States. In theory, this will cut down on overall attempts as well as injuries and deaths caused by failed crossings. While the emergency plan is still in its early stages, the coming days will provide a clearer picture of the plan to secure the border. Only time will tell if the new security measures along the southern U.S. border will be able to curb undocumented immigration.
Opinion By: Rebecca Savastio