Flood of child migrants could recede, but still be second-largest ever

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A new analysis shows the number of unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. illegally could drop by 39 percent this year but still be the second-largest influx of children on record.

Ian Gordon of Mother Jones reported the numbers on Friday, obtained from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a D.C.-based human rights group. WOLA stressed that the projections were "very tentative" and based on a small sample size.


The organization estimates that 41,000 unaccompanied minors could be apprehended at the border in the 2015 fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. That's a drop from the 68,500 kids caught at the border last year, but it's still a lot of children crossing alone.

WOLA based their predictions on existing apprehension data for the first four months of the fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Jan. 31), factoring in historical migration patterns, which fluctuate from season to season.

A flood of children and families crossing the border last summer became a major political crisis for the Obama administration. In the midterm elections a few months later, Republican candidates across the country (along with some Democrats) hammered the president for what they characterized as lax immigration enforcement.


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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