The flow of Central American migrant families across the Texas border is continuing at almost the same level as a year ago, according to newly released federal data.
In the last three months of 2014, 7,468 Central American migrants crossed in family units, down only 12 percent from the 8,511 migrants who crossed during the last three months of 2013, according to the federal data.
The late 2013 flow was the vanguard of roughly 60,000 adults and children who crossed in so-called “family units” during the 12 months up to October 2014. That “family unit” inflow occurred alongside the much-publicized inflow of 60,000 children and youths.
Since last summer, White House officials have made deals with Mexico and other Central Americans countries that are intended to block the northern flow of migrants. The continued flow across the border suggests those deals have not succeeded.
The continued inflow is also a warning sign for Republican leaders, who are rapidly pushing a new border security bill that only adds 48 miles of fending to the 2,000-mile border but doesn’t do anything to end President Barack Barack Obama’s catch-and-release policy toward Central American migrants, say critics.
The bill also calls for improved technological surveillance of the border and a better visa tracking system, and for more active duty officers and agents on the border.
The leaders’ bill is slated for a quick markup as early as Monday Jan. 26, and a floor vote on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
The continued inflow of family migrants suggests there will be another border surge starting as early as March, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors low-scale immigration.
But the Central American governments want their poor citizens to migrate to the United States, the Mexican police are too corrupt to stop the cartel-managed surge, and Obama will likely repeat his 2014 policy of allowing the migrants to apply for asylum and work permits, Vaughan said.
GOP legislators “will look foolish if they pass this [border] bill,” because it won’t stop Obama from welcoming the next wave of migrants, she said.
GOP leaders are “completely squandering all that public trust that worked so well for them in the election … and they’re willing to toss that away in the expectation that the Mexican government and the administration will solve [a 2015 surge] for them,” she said.
By July 2014, polls reported that up to 57 percent of likely voters opposed President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.
The steady flow of family groups — typically a woman and one or two children, mostly girls — however, has been disguised by the top-level attention given by the White House and the media to the cross-border transfer of children and young adults.
The children and youths are accompanied by coyotes to the U.S. border, where they are handed over to U.S. border police for transfer to their relatives who are already living illegally in the United States.
In 2014, the flow of roughly 60,000 youths was equal to the flow of families.
But the flow of youths has fallen by roughly 85 percent during the last three months of 2014, prompting White House officials to say they’ve regained control of the border.
The federal data showing the continued inflow of adults and children is backed up by a report from a charitable group on the border.
“The numbers increased a lot this past month, almost to 100 every day [last week],” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley according to a Tuscon Sentinel reportfrom Dec. 2.
“They have hope that they have a chance at a better life here. … It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon,” Pimentel said.