Cradling Children, Migrant Families Cross Border in Waves

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 24, 2019 | Go to article overview

Cradling Children, Migrant Families Cross Border in Waves


Byline: Nomaan Merchant Associated Press

MCALLEN, Texas -- A mother cradled a crying toddler as she waited in line with 20 other women to shower. Dozens of fathers quietly held their children's hands in an enclosure made of chain-link fencing.

While these families were held at an overcrowded Border Patrol processing center, a fresh wave of migrants crossed the nearby river separating the United States and Mexico and waited for border agents to bring them to the same facility. One Honduran woman carried a feverish 7-month-old baby.

The cycle is repeated multiple times a day. Waves of desperate families are trying to cross the border almost hourly and entering an overtaxed government detention system.

The Border Patrol has become so overwhelmed in feeding and caring for the migrants that it announced plans last week to start releasing some families onto the street in the Rio Grande Valley to ease overcrowding in the processing center, providing the immigrants with a notice to appear at an upcoming court date.

"We have an unprecedented crisis upon us," Robert Perez, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol's parent agency, said in an interview.

The Border Patrol says it made about 66,000 apprehensions of people crossing the border illegally in February, including 36,000 parents and children, an all-time monthly high. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, meanwhile, said since Dec. 21 that it has released 107,000 family members while they await court dates.

Immigration authorities expect the number of parents and children to surpass 50,000 in March during the traditional spring spike in migration and potentially reach 180,000 in May, according to two U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about internal documents.

The Border Patrol ordered expanded medical screenings after the December deaths of two children in its custody. The agency received $30 million to upgrade its South Texas processing center and additional funding to build a similar facility in El Paso.

The autopsy results for Jakelin Caal and Felipe Gomez Alonzo have not yet been released, but Customs and Border Protection has said both children were hospitalized after developing high fevers and nausea.

Children with fevers, colds and the flu arrive daily at the border with their parents and sometimes wait hours for the Border Patrol to pick them up.

On a recent Thursday, Carmen Mejia's 7-month-old, Lian, was feverish, one of four sick children in her group of 20. His mother had heard about Jakelin and Felipe before leaving her rural town in northern Honduras.

"It made me sad," she said. "But imagine. I'm here, also looking for a future for my son."

Mejia said she hoped to find work to support Lian and two older children she had left behind with her mother.

While she spoke, two more waves of people arrived. The group grew to around 50 before the Border Patrol could load everyone into vans and take them into detention.

Some migrants blamed extortion for forcing them to close small businesses. Others said gangs had killed close relatives and threatened to kill them.

President Donald Trump's administration says most adult border crossers are economic migrants who count on being released if they bring a child and seek asylum. Immigration agency officials have called for Congress to change laws that would allow them to detain more adults and children and deport people from Central America quicker.

Trump's signature solution -- and the reason for his declaration of a national emergency -- is a border wall, especially in South Texas, where there are comparatively few barriers. But a border wall would not stop families who aren't trying to evade immigration authorities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Cradling Children, Migrant Families Cross Border in Waves
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.