3 Center for American Progress | The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America
712 percen rom 2008 levels.
People are also seeking sae haven wihin heir own counries, as evidenced by rising numbers o inernally displaced persons, especially in Honduras and Guaemala.
For example, 17,000 Hondurans have become inernally displaced since 2008, according o civil sociey moniors, mosly due o criminal vio-lence perperaed by local gangs and ransnaional drug raﬃcking organizaions.
Tere are less daa abou he number o amilies ﬂeeing, bu according o he Women’s eugee Commission, he number o amilies arriving a he U.S. border has increased in similar proporions o he number o unaccompanied children.
In ﬁscal year 2013, DHS apprehended ewer han 10,000 amilies per year; ye, more han 55,000 amilies were apprehended in he ﬁrs nine monhs o ﬁscal year 2014 alone.
No only have he numbers o persons coming o he Unied Saes rom his region changed over he pas ew years, bu he demographic composiion o hese new arrivals has changed as well. For years, i was more common o see older eens, almos always male, coming o he Unied Saes.
oday, children ages 12 and under are he ases growing group o children arriving alone a he border, and almos hal he children coming are girls.
Jus a ew years ago, i was rare or a child younger han 12 years old o arrive alone in he Unied Saes. oday, i is commonplace or elemen-ary-school-aged children o be apprehended by U.S. Cusoms and Border Proecion on he souhern border.
Factors behind the rise in unaccompanied children
Some in Congress have been quick o ry o score poliical poins by accusing he Obama adminisraion o having brough on his inﬂux o children and amilies. Te ﬁrs congressional hearing on he issue was ellingly named “An Adminisraion Made Disaser: Te Souh exas Border Surge o Unaccompanied Alien Minors.”
A he hearing, House epublicans argued ha lax border enorcemen and he Deerred Acion or Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, programwhich grans a wo-year reprieve rom deporaion and a work permi o eligible undocumened youhhas given chil-dren in Cenral America an incenive o come o he Unied Saes.
ep. Darrell Issa (-CA) even called on Presiden Barack Obama o end DACA and o begin deporing hose wih he emporary legal saus in order o send a message o prospecive child reugees ha hey should no come o he Unied Saes.
Conrary o wha he adminisraion’s opponens may claim, however, i is clear ha U.S. border enorcemen policies are no he primary drivers o children coming o he Unied Saes.
Insead, much o he surge sems rom he inerrelaed challenges o organized criminal violence and povery ha adversely aﬀec individuals in Norhern riangle counries.