Official figures released recently by the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department indicate that our federal government has released 37,477 children or teenaged illegal aliens into “safe settings with sponsors” so far this year as of July 31. HHS’s “Office of Refugee Resettlement” compiled a county-by-county report that accounts for 29,890 or these youthful illegal aliens and indicates exactly how many were sent to each U.S. county.
The report lists figures only for those 126 counties where 50 or more of these children have been released since January 1, 2014. The total sent to counties receiving fewer than 50 children presumably makes up the remaining 7,587 illegal minor aliens.
The Washington Examiner cited news reports that only 280 underage illegal migrants were deported during the same time period, which ran from January 1 through July 31.
The Examiner quoted Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute that examines the impact of immigration on American society, who said that the tiny number of deportations encourages illegal immigrants to enter the United States because they believe that they will be able to stay.
“The priority of the administration is to release the individuals to the United States,” said Vaughan. “[U.S. authorities] are not trying to persuade people from coming here.”
The Obama administration’s track record on deporting these minors who are here illegally contracts a statement made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on July 7: “It’s our view that it’s unlikely that most of these kids will qualify for humanitarian relief. If they don’t qualify for humanitarian relief, they will be sent back.”
An editorial about these latest figures in Investor’s Business Daily on August 29 disputed the administration’s claims that it would deport illegal immigrants:
It exposes as false President Obama’s protestations, made in the heat of the public relations disaster of the border surge, that anyone crossing the Texas border would be sent back. Obama made those claims in response to photos of human squalor that were leaked to Breitbart and gained broader attention via Drudge Report.
Turns out he wasn’t sincere at all.
IBD noted that, since the odds of being released into the United States are 99.3 percent and the odds of being deported are a tiny 0.7 percent [280 out of 37,477], “there’s a clear incentive to try one’s luck.”
The IBD editorial also brought up a point rarely mentioned in the press: “80 percent of the illegal minors being released into society are males over the age of 14 who are of prime gang recruiting age.”
Street-hardened teenagers adorned with identifiable gang tattoos are not what most readers picture when reading articles about illegal immigrant “children.” But that is often the case.
In our article posted on June 16, we quoted Chris Cabrera, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, who told National Review that Border Patrol agents have reunited identified gang members with their families in the United States.
Cabrera said an officer recently told him about a known teen member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) transnational gang whom he was powerless to stop entering the country. “I’ve heard people come in and say, ‘You’re going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You’re going to let me go as well, and the government’s going to take care of us,’” Cabrera said. “Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don’t think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to get worse.”
Also complaining about his agency’s policies was Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, Arizona, who said in a statement also quoted by National Review: “It’s upsetting that a lot of them are 16 or 17 years old and a lot of them are not going to face deportation.”
Among the counties receiving the largest number of illegal youthful aliens, according to the report, are: Harris County (Houston), Texas, with 2,866; Los Angeles County, California, with 1,993; Suffolk County (Long Island), New York, with 1,181; Miami-Dade County, Florida, with 1,127; Nassau County (Long Island), New York, with 1,096; and Fairfax County (D.C. area), Virginia, with 1,023.
A report in the Long Island-based Newsday on August 27 noted that with more than 2,200 minors who are in the United States illegally being released to sponsors in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Long Island ranked third nationally in that category among metro areas this year, after Washington, D.C., and Houston.
Newsday reported that the federal policy “has angered residents on Long Island and elsewhere as local plans to shelter the minors surfaced.”
A statement from Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who spoke against sheltering these minors in Bethpage (an unincorporated area within the town of Oyster Bay), was quoted by Newsday: “I share the overwhelming frustration of my constituents and urge residents to join me in contacting their federal officials.”
Photo shows illegal immigrant children being escorted to an area to make phone calls: AP Images