Families Are Paying Smugglers To Escort ‘Unaccompanied’ Children, Johnson Admits

Article author: 
Neil Munro
Article publisher: 
The Daily Caller
Article date: 
23 July 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson admitted at a Tuesday press conference that nearly all the roughly 50,000 Central American youths who have crossed the Texas border since October are accompanied by smugglers hired by the youth’s parents or families.

“It is our observation and our experience that almost all of of them are smuggled,” he said. ”Nobody is freelancing,” he added ...

“The families are paying as much as $10,000,” he said.

Johnson’s admissions undercut the White House claim that the smuggled youths can’t be repatriated immediately, but must be protected by the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which automatically allows trafficked youths a chance to win a green card in court ...

The Daily Caller asked Johnson to explain why his agency is choosing to process the young immigrants who pay for smugglers as “trafficked” and as victimized “unaccompanied alien children.”

Johnson, a lawyer, offered a vague response.

The White House’s reliance on the 2008 law is also undermined by the fact that nearly all of the border-crossing children are handed over by federal agencies to their parents or to close family members who are living — often illegally — in the United States.

Federal immigration law excludes children with parents or guardians in the U.S. from being classified as “unaccompanied alien children,” and so excludes them from the 2008 law, said Feere [Jon Feere is the Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies] ...