‘Alarm Bells Ought to Be Ringing’ Over Surge of Central American Minors

An increase in the number of unaccompanied alien children who have come to the U.S. so far this year is a crisis that “has not been averted” and ought to cause “alarm bells” to sound off, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said during a hearing on Tuesday.

In an exchange with Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Sen. Johnson pointed to statistics compiled by U.S. Border Patrol which show a 10 percent increase in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) apprehended in the first five months of fiscal year 2016 compared to the same time span in 2014.

That was the same year that an unprecedented wave of unaccompanied minors — largely from Central America — crossed the border. The surge was largely unanticipated by the federal government and caused a shock to the immigration agencies and to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with processing UACs.

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