Legal, political hurdles in child migrant crisis

A section of fence in Hidalgo, Texas watched by Border Patrol.
A section of fence in Hidalgo, Texas watched by Border Patrol.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is facing a host of legal, humanitarian and political constraints as it copes with tens of thousands of Central American children entering the country illegally.

A Bush-era law to address human trafficking prevents the government from denying the children entry to the U.S. The same restrictions don’t apply to minors from Mexico and Canada.

The administration says it wants the law made more flexible.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday that the administration has sped up the processing of adults who enter the country illegally. He acknowledged that the unaccompanied children from Central America pose the most difficult problem.

Johnson said the word must reach Central America that anyone who enters this country illegally will face deportation proceedings eventually. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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