The Obama administration announced Friday that it is boosting efforts to detain and deport immigrants — both parents and children — who are illegally crossing the southwest border in record numbers.
In a conference call with reporters, administration officials said they are seeking additional space to hold the immigrants, many of whom are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America. The government is also surging law enforcement officers and immigration judges to the southwest border to more quickly process asylum and deportation cases.
As of June 15 of this fiscal year, the government apprehended 52,000 children illegally crossing the southwest border without their parents. And as of May of fiscal year 2014, 39,000 parents traveling with children have been apprehended in the same region.
“In light of the scale and the number of certain migrants from Central America, we at the Department of Homeland Security and our partners in the Department of Justice are taking additional steps to enhance our enforcement and removal proceedings,” Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of Homeland Security, told reporters.
The government has been reuniting some of these children with loved ones in Georgia and other states while they go through deportation proceedings. Federal officials say they don’t keep state-by-state statistics. But local immigration attorneys say they have noticed a sharp increase in such cases in the Atlanta area.
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