NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – President Trump continues to threaten to seal off the southern border and cut off aid to Central America.
The repeated threats to close some ports of entry come amid a surge of Central American migrants and families seeking asylum in the United States.
Immigration officials have said they’ve reached a breaking point. Last month Border Patrol agents estimated they apprehended some 100,000 migrants at the southern border. If true, that would be the highest single month total in more than a decade.
As a response, President Trump slashed $700 million of aid to some Central American countries blaming them for not doing enough to stop the onslaught.
Critics say a halt in U.S. aid, which is mostly provided to non-profits and non-governmental organizations, will impede efforts to curb the poverty, violence, corruption and climate change displacement in the region — and prompt more irregular migration towards the U.S.
Democratic lawmakers are pushing back on the border closure threats, warning the action will only make the humanitarian crisis worse. Immigration officials say nearly 70-percent of migrants at the border are families and unaccompanied children.
As of Friday U.S. Customs and Border Protection had released about 2,000 asylum seekers into three south Texas cities, while others have been sent to Mexico to await an asylum hearing.
CBS 11 News spoke to one teen who arrived in Dallas five days ago from Guatemala. Jorge Gonzalez’s mother paid someone to help him make the trip.
Both Gonzalez and his brother were apprehended at the border. They were separated and his brother was sent back. Speaking for the young man a translator said, “He’s very sad because he’s going to miss his brother. His brother took care of him and now he doesn’t have his brother.”
Gonzalez is now one of many young migrants attending classes at Catholic Charities of Dallas. The social service agency guides asylum seekers though legal options available to them before they see an immigration judge.