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Understanding What Caused The Border Crisis

Understanding What Caused The Border Crisis
Posted by Dexter Nelson: Monday, July 21, 2014 (3:02 PM)

What Caused The Border Crisis

What Caused The Border Crisis?

Unusual blog post for and IT blog, but I believe it takes a technical mind to see through the political fodder and answer some very basic questions people are asking.

  1. What caused the border crisis?
  2. Why aren't illegal immigrants deported immediately?
  3. Why is immigration taking so long to process?
  4. Why are they being bused all over the country?

After weeks of discussions with peers and others, these are the questions that gets asked the most, so I'm going to take the time to answer them.

First, when I reference laws and who signed them into law it's not a blame game or giving kudos to any one or any party. I'm trying to stay away from the politics game, but I'm also going to give my perspective on what I think is happening in the political arena, and just why the heck it all seems so confusing.

Understanding The Argument:

We're going to talk about this first, because both parties are half-right.

The republican party (rather the GOP in the republican party) is blaming a 2012 deferred action decision as the cause for the immigration surge, claiming it as promised amnesty. (See the DACA in the reference).

On the other side, the democratic party (rather the administration) is blaming a 2008 law, (William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act) signed under G.W. Bush as the culprit.

The truth is, they're both right, and both wrong.

The 2012 deferred action decision is a kind of amnesty, but there are some strict parameters and requirements, including that the person have been 16 years old when they came here and that they stayed here from 2007 to 2012. In essence, it has a cap and didn't apply to everyone.

A far cry from what the GOP would have everyone believe.

The democratic party on the other hand would have you believe that it's G.W. Bush's fault, but that's a little short-sighted if I can be honest. They forget to mention that it was also re-authorized in 2003 and 2005.

They also don't mention that the initial law was done under President Clinton in 2000 before he left office. That law was called the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.

While the law is the root of the immigration problem after people are apprehended, (so much so that the NY times even published their own article blaming it), it's not the cause of the crisis.

So what's happening here?

Immigration has been steadily climbing since the 1990's, and under G.W. Bush, there were 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US by most estimates, including the DHS, PEW and PPIC, all showing that there are less illegal immigrants under this administration than under the previous, even on the state level in big immigration states like California.

In fact, for a while President Obama was called "deporter-in-chief" by the same people criticizing him now for failed immigration policy, because under this administration there were more illegal immigrant deportations than any other administration, (PEW researh). 

But that is just the political game... so just what the heck is going on?

1. What Caused The Border Crisis?

Getting past the political arena and the blame game, just what is really going on? The answer isn't that hard to figure out once you zoom out past our own borders.

1. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees did a study in which was found that 58 percent of the unaccompanied children were motivated by safety concerns, fearing conditions back home because their home countries have been racked by gang violence, fueled by the drug trade.

2. The US Customs and Border Protection pretty much confirmed what the UN study showed, saying that Salvadoran and Honduran children come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.

Also, a large portion of the rest are migrating to the US to reunite with friends and family already living here. So you have Guatemmala, El Salvador and Honduras as hot beds for gang violence and drug trafficking causing people, mostly kids, to flee their country, and on the other side, you have human traffickers and smugglers using that as an opportunity to make money.

In essence, they're profit-seeking by spreading rumors throughout the Central American countries, taking their money, and promising to re-unite them with their families.

That is the cause of the border crisis.

But now that we know what's causing it, why aren't they sent back immediately?

2. Why aren't illegal immigrants deported immediately?

The answer is U.S. Policy.  Officially, US policy only allows Mexican immigrants to be sent back quickly.

So what about the rest of them?

Enter again, the Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act under G.W. Bush. In it, children from Central America must be given a court hearing before they are deported, or allowed to stay.

Now you know why I said they're both right and both wrong, and why I said that the law is the cause of the problem after people are apprehended.

Before I answer why immigration is taking so long to process and why they are being bused all over the country, it needs to made clear that US policy on this matter was created out of heart, as much as the need to control immigration.

For the pundits who would say that the image of the United States is bad and that this migration influx is an invasion, I say they're dead wrong. The fact that so many people chose to come to the US when they are in need is actually a tribute to the United State's generousity.

In fact, in 2009 cited a study form the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity that showed that the US leads the world in private, charitable giving. The people of the United States may protest tax dollars being used for humanitarian reasons (as in the case of the nearly $4 billion dollars asked of Congress by President Obama), but when it comes to giving freely, they are leading the world.

To me, combined with laws that are designed to open their borders and doors to immigrants, is something to be proud of, not gawked at, nor taken lightly, even though it is often taken advantage of.

So back to the questions...

3. Why is immigration taking so long to process?

So if we can't deport them immediately, what's the hold up? If this administration is deporting immigrants faster than any other administration, why is it still taking so long?

The answer is simple there too - they are backlogged.

This is one of the cases I've found where smaller government actually hurts US progress. The bottom line is that the immigration system is woefully understaffed and backlogged.

And before I explain what's being done about it, let me answer the next question.

4. Why are illegal immigrants being bused all over the country?

The answer to this one took a bit of digging. Truth be told, I didn't even know there was such a thing as the Migration Policy Institute, but there is.

Their policy states that upwards of 90 percent of the children stay with relatives or family friends already living in the U.S. and the the rest placed in foster care.

Considering that immigration has been on a steady climb since the 1990's, and that most kids won't be deported immediately, human traffickers and smugglers have a very large market of people who would risk coming to the US just to see their friends and family again.

Honestly I can't lay blame on the government, any single party, or those people (kids especially) coming across the border. I couldn't look a kid in the face and say go home, knowing that they're either fleeing violence or they have family that they haven't seen in a long time.

I won't leave it like this, just hanging in the air either. To the best of my knowledge, this is what's being done about the situation.

What's being done about the border crisis?

To avoid the political crossfire, I'm using two resources. One from the Tea Party website, and the other from the White House website.

The big thing that's on people's minds is the $3.7 billion dollars in appropriation asked for by the President. Currently it's going through debate and revisions on both sides and here is the breakdown.

The funding would pay for four focus points.

  1. Deterrence, including increased detainment and removal of adults with children and increased immigration court capacity to speed cases.
  2. Enforcement, including enhanced interdiction and prosecution of criminal networks, increased surveillance, and expanded collaborative law enforcement task force efforts.
  3. Foreign Cooperation, including improved repatriation and reintegration, stepped-up public information campaigns, and efforts to address the root causes of migration.
  4. Capacity, including increased detainment, care, and transportation of unaccompanied children.

In other words, the focus is deterrance of future surges by increasing our detainment capability and speeding up the immigration process, enforcement by cracking down on criminal networks and increasing surveillance and putting more people on the border security, bolstering cooperation from the countries in which the surges are coming, and humanitarian care for the unaccompanied children.

This also reflects on how the spending breaks down.

  • The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - $1.1 billion
  • The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection - $433 million
  • The Department of Justice - $64 million
  • Department of State and Other International Programs - $300 million
  • The Department of Health and Human Services - $1.8 billion

Stepping back into politics here and Texas Gov. Perry's claims that only 2 percent of the money will be spent on securing the border. If you look at the $433 million alone, then I can see his argument, however securing the border isn't just on Border protection.

I took the time to weed through the items in the appropriations request and this is how it breaks down.

  1. $109 million would provide for immigration and customs enforcement efforts, including expanding the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program, doubling the size of vetted units in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and expanding investigatory activities by ICE Homeland Security Investigations; and
  2. $879 million would pay for detention and removal of apprehended undocumented adults traveling with children, expansion of alternatives to detention programs for these individuals, and additional prosecution capacity for adults with children who cross the border unlawfully.
  3. $364 million would pay for operational costs of responding to the significant rise in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and families, including overtime and temporary duty costs for Border Patrol agents, contract services and facility costs to care for children while in CBP custody, and medical and transportation service arrangements;
  4. $29 million for CBP to expand its role in Border Enforcement Security Task Force programs, increasing information-sharing and collaboration among the participating law enforcement agencies combatting transnational crime; and
  5. $39.4 million to increase air surveillance capabilities that would support 16,526 additional flight hours for border surveillance and 16 additional crews for unmanned aerial systems to improve detection and interdiction of illegal activity.

Those are the items that directly affect immediate border security concerns from each department, a total of 1.42 billion dollars ear-marked for border security, which is closer to 38% of the 3.7 trillion.

Appropriation aside, the administration is in talks with the Central American countries battling the root cause of the surge and the laws on the books are actually being carried out.

Looking at the numbers, it is a very unusual year of immigration, and thus far I can see that government is working (at least on this issue).

If you're looking to take action or asking if there is something you can do, now is the time to contact your state reps and share your concerns, even ask them to not oppose the funding appropriate.

As they say... there are no simple solutions.

I hope this breakdown from a technical point of view helped cut through the political game playing on both sides of the isle and bring some clarity to what's really going on.

If you liked this article or found it useful, please like, share and leave a comment below. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

What to connect? Follow me on Facebook!

About The Author:

Dexter Nelson is a small business owner  in the field as a programmer, system engineer, and marketing consultant, specializing in market research and trend analysis. He's worked at home for many years as a private contractor, and has a passion for research and discovery in many fields and enjoys making money on the side as a blogger; In addition to his business site, he also runs a resource site that teaches people how to make money blogging. For more information on making money as a blogger, please visit and opt-in on the home page.


  1. The UN Study:
  2. Border Patrol Summary:
  3. Migration Policy Institute:
  4. The 2012 Decision:
  5. William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008:
  6. NY Times article:
  7. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000:
  8. DACA:
  9. (DHS) Number of illegals under Bush; number of illegals under Obama:
  10. (PEW) Number of illegals under Bush; number of illegals under Obama:
  11. (PPIC) Number of illegals under Bush; number of illegals under Obama:
  12. PEW Research (Deportations under Obama):
  13. Charitable Giving:
  14. Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity:
  15. Tea Party:
  16. White House:

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