AUSTIN (KXAN) – Tens of thousands immigrant children are crossing the border into the United States and the vast majority of them are doing so along the Texas Mexico border.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security keeps detailed data on the number of children crossing from each Central American country as well as where they were apprehended. A quick glance shows 57,525 children ranging from 0-17 years old crossed into the US in 2014.
The number of unaccompanied alien children, as they are referred to by CBP, has risen dramatically over the past four years. The data, kept not by calendar year but an April to March fiscal year, show the number of unaccompanied minors from Honduras has risen nearly 1600 percent since 2011. The arrival of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador has increased 854 percent and children from Guatemala have increased by 800 percent in the same time frame. For comparison, the number of unaccompanied minors from Mexico increased 7 percent since 2011 and actually declined almost 27 percent from 2013 to 2014.
Central America has some severe challenges, namely drug cartels. San Pedro Sula, the Honduran City where many of the children are dropped off after being deported is the deadliest in the world. Last year, there were nearly 1,300 reported murders in the city just smaller than Austin. On the other hand, Austin had just 26 murders. One of America’s most dangerous cities: Detroit has a similar population to both San Pedro Sula and Austin. Still it had many fewer murders: 386.
Crossing the border into Texas
The majority of unaccompanied minors who were caught crossing into the United States have been apprehended in Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Sector, which encompasses 34,000 square miles including McAllen, Brownsville and Rio Grande City. Data from Fiscal Year 2014 show 73 percent, or 42,164, of the 57,525 children who were apprehended crossed into the US by way of the Rio Grande Valley.
Twelve percent, or 6,945, of the children crossed into the United States via the Tucson Sector. Five percent of the children crossed into the country into the Laredo Sector.