New Study Debunks Notion that DACA Triggered Migration of Children from Central

Last summer the national media began to focus on the migration of unaccompanied children from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to the southern border of the United States seeking out border agents so they could be apprehended just before crossing the border. One of the reasons frequently cited for this influx of youngsters was the President’s decision in 2012 to institute the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Opponents of this program created by an executive action issued by the Department of Homeland Security claimed that this latest migration resulted from the decision to grant the DACA recipients temporary legal and work status. They argue that the fact that some delineated group of young immigrants can eventually obtain legal residency status, no matter its temporary duration, served as a source of encouragement for children to make the long trek from Central America.

Now a study from Niskanen Center shows that the migration was well under way long before the administration started the DACA program. This analysis indicates that the massive increase in unaccompanied alien children (UACs) began before DACA was even announced in June 2012.   After the announcement, fewer children migrated illegally in 2014 than a decade earlier, indicating that illegal child migration is not just some recent phenomenon. While the percentage of illegal entries by children has increased, this is mainly because entry for adults has become much more difficult due to greater border security and the absence of legal avenues for admission.

According to the data reviewed in the study, the influx of children began to pick up sharply in December of 2011 and peaked around March and April of 2012. Over the following four months, the rate of migration began to decline. Then the number of children migrating here leveled off somewhat. However, what did continue was the violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador which has prompted adults in those countries to send their own children away because they fear for the lives of their kids in their home countries.

The immigration lawyers of The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of naturalization of immigration to the United States.  Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).