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Over the Border, but Not Out of the Woods

Over the Border, but Not Out of the Woods

In all of the excitement over President Obama’s executive action on immigration, we haven’t been hearing much about the plight of unaccompanied children coming to the U.S.-Mexico border, which experienced a notable uptick this summer. Yet, there have been a few new developments:

  • On December 15, the Department of Homeland Security opened the United States’ largest immigration detention facility, in Dilley, Texas. The facility is equipped to hold 2,400 migrants, especially women and children, and will be operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison contractor. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called the facility “inhumane”, and many other groups involved in immigration advocacy have criticized the new detention center.
  • The so-called CRomnibus budget bill that was passed last month contained $1.2 billion to help with unaccompanied children coming to the border, including $948 million to the Department of Homeland Security for health and education services for migrants, and $260 million to the State Department for aid to the Central American countries at the root of the crisis.
  • Controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio sued the government over the President’s deferred action programs, but his lawsuit was thrown out. Arpaio’s argument was that the deferred action programs encouraged more people to come to the United States illegally, an argument that was repeated often—but never proven—in the context of unaccompanied children at the border this summer.

Last summer, the RAC fought to protect the rights of migrant children by opposing changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). As the new Congress begins, we will continue to advocate for smart, compassionate and humane treatment of migrants coming to our border.

Published: 1/05/2015

Categories: Social Justice