Executive Summary

There is a real crisis at our border. An unprecedented surge in family unit (FMU) migration from Central America is overwhelming our border agencies and our immigration system. This crisis is endangering children. In too many cases, children are being used as pawns by adult migrants and criminal smuggling organizations solely to gain entry into the United States (U.S.). Because 40% of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) resources are currently absorbed in dealing with this crisis, the USBP is not able to effectively manage its other border security missions — apprehending migrants illegally seeking to evade detection, including criminal aliens and those who pose a public safety or national security threat, uncovering instances of trafficking, fraudulent family relationships and other criminal activity among this population, and monitoring the border for drug smuggling and other contraband. To cover this gap, CBP will need to re-assign an increasing number of CBP officers stationed at ports of entry to assist the USBP in handling the surge in FMU migration.

The surge in FMU migration will continue to soar, endangering more and more children making the treacherous 2,000 mile trek to our border and crossing illegally into the U.S. at dangerous and remote areas between ports of entry (POE), until the dynamics causing this trend are changed. This change requires emergency action by the U.S. Government (USG). The changes proposed by this bipartisan Panel, if all of our recommendations are implemented, could dramatically reduce migration of FMUs from Central America, help to eliminate dangerous and illegal border crossings, as well as improve the care of children who are brought on this harrowing journey by an adult. Implementing these recommendations is essential for the safety and welfare of children living in Central America and elsewhere who will continue to make this dangerous trek and risky border crossing until the USG implements the emergency actions we propose.

See what others have said about illegal immigration.