White House Seeks Tougher Rules on Child Migrants

Central Americans could quickly be sent home
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2014 12:16 PM CDT
White House Seeks Tougher Rules on Child Migrants
In this Friday, June 20, 2014 photo, Guatemalan migrant Gladys Chinoy, 14, waits along with more than 500 other migrants, after the freight train they were traveling on derailed in Mexico.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Amid an influx of child migrants, many from Central America, President Obama is calling on Congress to change the rules on how their cases are handled—and it looks like his proposals will make it harder for the kids to stay. As it currently stands, children from countries that don't border the US have the opportunity to take their cases to immigration court, the Los Angeles Times reports. But new rules for Central American kids would match those for Mexican children, an advocate for migrant children tells Vox. They would have a single chance to speak to a Border Patrol agent and convince the official that they genuinely fear persecution at home.

"Four-year-olds, standing before a Border Patrol station, trying to articulate a fear of persecution or a fear of trafficking. It's patently absurd," says the advocate. Kids who aren't persuasive would immediately be returned to their home countries. Facing what the White House has called a humanitarian crisis, President Obama is calling for emergency appropriations of more than $2 billion to address heavy illegal migration from Central America through Texas, the New York Times reports. He's also seeking a crackdown on smugglers bringing kids into the US. Obama gave advice to Central American parents in an interview with ABC last week, the Times notes: "Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.” (More White House stories.)

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