Over the past few years, and in particular over the past few months, the number of children and families leaving the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and arriving in neighboring countries and at our southern border has grown significantly. Already in fiscal year 2014, more than 57,000 children have arrived in the United States, double the number who made it to the U.S. southern border in FY 2013. The number of families arriving at the border, consisting mostly of mothers with infants and toddlers, has increased in similar proportions. In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, apprehended fewer than 10,000 families per year; yet, more than 55,000 families were apprehended in the first nine months of fiscal year 2014 alone.
The majority of unaccompanied children and families who are arriving come from a region of Central America known as the “Northern Triangle,” where high rates of violence and homicide have prevailed in recent years and economic opportunity is increasingly hard to come by. Officials believe a total of at least 90,000 children will arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of this fiscal year in September.
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