Talk about bad timing. In an election year rife with anti-immigrant sentiment, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics show that apprehensions of unaccompanied minors from Central America have spiked to levels near those in the first six months of fiscal year 2014, when the issue became a political football and a source of hysteria for some Americans.
According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, CBP apprehended 27,754 unaccompanied minors on the U.S.-Mexico border during the fist six months of the 2016 fiscal year, which began this past October 1. That’s close to the mark reached for the first six months of fiscal year 2014 (28,579) and 78 percent higher than apprehensions during the first six months of fiscal year 2015
Totals for this year could exceed 2014’s record high of 68,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended, according to Wendy Young, president of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Kids in Need of Defense (KiND), an organization co-founded by actress Angelina Jolie, which works to pair volunteer attorneys with children seeking asylum in this country.
“I’ve heard numbers of anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000,” Young tells New Times.