Since last October, more than 66,000 children from Central America have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without parents — a steady flow that has overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and federal social workers who, following the law, dispersed the children to cities across the nation.
Their arrival overflowed short-term detention facilities this summer, triggered humanitarian relief efforts and prompted heightened efforts by U.S. and Mexican officials to dissuade migrants from attempting the dangerous journey north. The border crisis further exposed divisions on either side of the immigration debate, as President Barack Obama called for expedited deportations and Gov. Rick Perry, saying federal efforts weren’t adequate, deployed National Guard troops and additional Department of Public Safety troopers to patrol the border.
But as children continue to cross the border — now at a slower pace than earlier in the summer — and settle into cities across the country, a humanitarian crisis is becoming a bureaucratic one.