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A university study that was funded by and partnered with the Department of Homeland Security reveals the nation’s Border Patrol officers say the massive surge in unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, crossing the U.S. border stems from a lack of deterrence and relative absence of consequences for breaking immigration law.

Authors of the March 20, 2014, study by the University of Texas at El Paso conducted interviews and site visits with border agents and officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, who work with UACs on a daily basis.

“Officers are certain that UACs are aware of the relative lack of consequences they will receive when apprehended at the U.S. border,” the 45-page report stated.

“During each of the site visits team members conducted interviews with officials that work with UACs on a daily basis. Border Patrol and ICE ERO officers agreed that the lack of deterrence for crossing the U.S.-Mexican border has impacted the rate at which they apprehend UACs.”

The report, titled “Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Project,” states the study “was funded and supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate Office of University Programs under Grant Award Number 2008.”

The University of Texas at El Paso conducted the study as co-leader of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration, an official DHS partner organization that advises the U.S. agency on immigration and border issues.

The report came with a disclaimer that the findings only represent the conclusions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any government agency.

Feds lowball number of children crossing border

WND recently reported DHS 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 most recent 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, 47,017 UACs already have arrived, mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

If those trends continue, the numbers could eclipse 100,000 by the end of the year.

The original DHS budget called for $868 million in UAC funding for 2014 and 2015.

Earlier this month, the White House asked Congress for an extra $1.4 billion in federal money for UAC programs.

President Obama has 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 UACs 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 additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.

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