A rush of young children crossing alone and illegally into the U.S. from Texas is so large and unexpected that the Obama administration is asking Congress for about $2 billion to grapple with what is being called a humanitarian crisis, reports the Los Angeles Times. Immigration agents are so overwhelmed that some children are being kept in detention and being processed during a longer time period than the 72-hour maximum requirement.
Officials had been prepared for an increase this year in the Rio Grande Valley, but the influx was much greater than anticipated. As many as 90,000 minors are forecast to enter the U.S. this year without their parents or guardians. The influx of unaccompanied children who are crossing illegally through Texas is due to escalating violence in Central America and not because of false rumors that people who cross will be eligible for some sort of permanent immigration relief. The Obama administration request for the funds would cover costs of the Health and Human Services’ Unaccompanied Alien Children program and is just the latest effort by federal immigration officials to contain the crisis.