Overwhelmed by a surge in illegal immigration, especially by unaccompanied children, the U.S. government launched a $1 million international media effort, the “Dangers Awareness Campaign,” warning families in Central America that it’s best to stay at home, the Associated Press reports. Standing beside the Rio Grande River yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said the message aimed primarily at Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is two-part: The trip to the U.S. is extremely dangerous, and immigrants who make it here will not be allowed to stay. “We have to stem the flow,” Kerlikowske said.
AP said “the effort will test high production value messaging against the pervasive gang violence and intense poverty that pushes many immigrants to flee their homelands.” This week Texas officials reported that a Guatemalan boy’s body was found in the brush about a mile from the Rio Grande. He was trying to reach his brother in Chicago to help support their family in rural Guatemala. Kerlikowske said 226 immigrants have died crossing the border since October. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained during the same period after entering the U.S. illegally.