June 7: Below are several more reports on the current numbers of Central American refugees entering the US. Though the AP story from last night (second in list below) says that people will continue to be sent to Arizona, ICE officials as well as some workers with the Catholic diocese refugee services and others in the religious communities serving immigrants in El Paso have said that buses and planes will begin bringing some of these people to El Paso starting today…
As for the reasons these folks are coming in such numbers, I believe that we cannot discount fact that people talk to each other along the route and these communications (true and otherwise) have some influence on the decisions people make. As far as the dangers they face traveling through Mexico, there is ample evidence that many migrants are killed or go missing along the way. There is no safe route (other than in a commercial flight which poor people cannot afford) across Mexico for these people, yet we know that in recent years more and more have attempted the journey despite the dangers.
There have been other large-scale movements of people from Central America into the US in past years…the kinds of movements that make it difficult or impossible for ICE to detain them all and so they will be released on condition that they report to immigration later. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 for example caused large numbers of people to leave the region and many were given temporary protected status in the US:
People are now fleeing war-like conditions caused by criminal activities in the region and the government malfeasance. Poverty is at the root of why most people migrate and that is true in the current situation as well. molly
UPDATE (June 8): There is a lot of in-depth information in the report from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops trip to Central America in Nov 2013. This report was cited in a previous posting. I note that it does have links to some statistics from US authorities on the numbers of unaccompanied children apprehended in previous years. It is available here:
UPDATE (June 8): Apparently, there are at least 270–not 130–immigrants who have been flown to El Paso from the Rio Grande Valley. The situation is changing rapidly and according to a media person who wrote to me personally, the CBP officials are not giving many statements to reporters, but there should be updates tomorrow.
The Annunciation House press conference on the local faith community response will be Monday at 1:30 pm at CASA VIDES, 325 Leon Street in El Paso. molly