There are now fewer unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. There are also substantially less minors staying in Arizona, after being processed, than in other states. Articles from Tucson News Now and Cronkite News Online have described these different issues.
First, it was recently announced that towards the end of July and the beginning of August, there were less undocumented children apprehended at the border. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported “[picking] up 522 kids coming across the border in Texas without their parents” in the last week of July. Over the entire month of July, there were 5,500 minors apprehended.
The entire month of July was substantially lower than May and June. In May, there were 10,579 unaccompanied children apprehended at the border and 12,774 adults with children attempting to cross into the U.S. In June, there were 10,628 unaccompanied children and another 16,330 adults with children.
While July saw less children attempting to cross into the U.S. without documentation than prior months, it was still higher than other months in 2014. For example, in January, there were 3,706 unaccompanied children and 2,286 adults with children.
"We have surged resources and put in place an aggressive campaign to counter the rise of illegal migration into the Rio Grande Valley. We have dramatically reduced the removal time for many unaccompanied adults from about 33 to four days. We have built additional detention space for adults with children at Artesia, New Mexico and another facility that was transitioned last week in Karnes City, Texas, and we are about to open an additional facility for the same purpose. We have increased the number of flights to repatriate people back to Central America,” said Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, in response to the recent decrease.
Second, it has been reported that there are not as many unaccompanied children placed in Arizona. It is true that there have been in excess of 5,000 undocumented and unaccompanied children sent to Arizona for processing, but “fewer than 200 of them ended up staying in the state.” Cronkite News Online has reported that Arizona ranks 26th for the most children brought to the state for placement. Topping the list was Texas, with 4,280. Next came New York with 3,347, Florida with 3,181 and California with 3,150.
It is normal to wonder why Arizona ranks so low. Not only is it near the U.S.-Mexico border, but many children did come here initially for processing. Experts in this area have determined that “the low number of placements in Arizona points to the relatively small population of Central Americans living in the state.” With few Central Americans living in Arizona, there is less of a chance that the unaccompanied children would have a family member who they could be placed with.
Marc Rosenblum, the deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Program at the Migration Policy Institute said that he is not surprised by Arizona's ranking because “[l]ess than 1 percent of the Central American-born immigrants in U.S. are from Arizona.”