Lora Ries from The Heritage Foundation was one of the witnesses at a recent congressional hearing on “Ensuring the safety and well-being of unaccompanied children.” She testified that “the best way to ensure the safety and well-being of unaccompanied alien children [(UAC)] is to remove the pull factors” that encourage their parents to send them here.

In other words, they wouldn’t be risking the lives of their children to get them to the American border if we weren’t welcoming them into the country and letting them stay.

The main pull factor is section 235(a) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which requires Border Patrol officers to let UACs from noncontiguous countries into the United States; transfer them to HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR);and put them in regular removal proceedings rather than in expedited removal proceedings.

Only 5.3 percent of the UACs were repatriated between 2013 and 2021.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas’s enforcement guidelines made this pull factor even stronger by permitting the parents of UACs to remain indefinitely too if they succeed in reaching the interior of the country, unless they pose a threat to national security, public safety or border security. According to Mayorkas, “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen […] should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”

The number of unaccompanied minors encountered at the border jumped from just 33,239 in fiscal 2020 to 146,925 in fiscal 2021 to 152,057 in fiscal 2022; so far, there have been more than 46,000 UAC encounters in fiscal 2023.

Former President Obama tried to stop Central American parents from sending their children to America, making the following statement on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“Our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied, on trains or through a bunch of smugglers,” Obama told ABC’s Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview here. “We don't even know how many of these kids don't make it, and may have been waylaid into sex trafficking or killed because they fell off a train.

“Do not send your children to the borders,” he said. “If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

He also sent then-Vice President Joe Biden to Central America to warn parents there about the perils of the trip and seek cooperation from the governments of the Central American countries.

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...ith-smugglers/

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at: https://nolanhillop-eds.blogspot.com