The Department of Homeland Security appears to have low-balled its estimates of the number of unaccompanied alien children it’s publicly claiming will arrive in the U.S. during the fiscal year of 2014.
DHS claimed in its new budget proposal that current trends lead it to estimate 60,000 unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, will cross illegally this year.
A closer look at DHS’s own numbers, however, show that as of May 31, a total of 47,017 UACs has already arrived, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
If those trends continue, the numbers could eclipse 100,000 by the end of the year.
Indeed, earlier this month, Breitbart News cited a leaked internal draft memo from Deputy Chief of Border Patrol Ronald D. Vitiello that revealed the DHS expects UAC apprehensions this year to be about 90,100 and 2015 to see 142,000 unaccompanied alien children enter the country.
Vitiello’s memo stated government policies are creating incentives for illegal minors to cross the border.
“Releasing other than Mexican family units, credible fear claims, and low-threat aliens on their own recognizance, along with facilitating family reunification of UAC in lieu of repatriation to their country of citizenship, serve as incentives for additional individuals to follow the same path,” Vitiello wrote.
In response to publication of the memo, Vitiello’s agency told Breitbart News, “The draft memo appears to be an internal, incomplete working document, neither signed nor made official.”
The original DHS budget called for $868 million in UAC funding for 2014 and 2015.
But last week, the White House asked Congress for an extra $1.4 billion in federal money for UAC programs.
President Obama last Monday referred to the unaccompanied immigrant children as presenting an “urgent humanitarian situation.”
The White House also created an interagency Unified Coordination Group to coordinate “the humanitarian aspects of this situation,” according to an official description.
The UAC numbers have increased exponentially since 2012. Prior to that year, the numbers of arriving unaccompanied illegal minors had averaged between 6,000 and 7,000 annually. The fiscal year of 2012 the saw the number of UAC skyrocket to nearly 14,000, and then nearly doubling to 25,000 last year.
Following a legal battle that went to the Supreme Court, the DHS signed onto the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement, which requires the agency to supply detained minors with food, drinking water, medical assistance during emergencies, toilets and sinks and adequate temperature control and ventilation, among other stipulations.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.