Photo: EPN and Barack Obama
President Barack Obama telephoned Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto to review possible responses to the surge in unaccompanied minors illegally entering the United States across the southern border, the White House said.
“The President noted that Vice President (Joe) Biden will attend a regional meeting in Guatemala on Friday, June 20, to discuss the urgent humanitarian issue, and welcomed the opportunity to work in close cooperation with Mexico to develop concrete proposals to address the root causes of unlawful migration from Central America,” the administration said in a statement.
Most of the unaccompanied children streaming across the southern border are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto discussed their governments’ “shared responsibility for promoting security in both countries and in the region,” the White House said.
Citing the dangers faced by youngsters traveling alone, Obama praised the Mexican government’s efforts to persuade its citizens not to send their children across the border, according to the statement.
“The President also reiterated that arriving migrants will not qualify for legalization under proposed immigration reform legislation or deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA),” the White House said, referring to the Obama initiative benefiting young undocumented migrants already in the United States.
The young migrants are subject to deportation, though each case is reviewed individually.
Extrapolating from the current trend, U.S. authorities say the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border could reach 60,000 by year’s end.
Obama earlier this month ordered the creation of an inter-agency Coordination Group to address the “urgent humanitarian situation” created by the influx.
Immigration authorities in Texas found themselves overwhelmed by the numbers of children arriving alone and began busing them to Arizona, where officials and NGOs have been scrambling to find shelter for the youngsters.