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Top immigration officials say summer won't see surge in kids

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center, a temporary home for immigrant women and children detained at the border in Karnes City, Texas, last year September.


There won't be nearly as many immigrant children who cross the border on their own this summer as there were last year, top officials said.

Daniel Ragsdale, deputy director for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said authorities expect far fewer migrant children and families than the influx last year that gained worldwide attention and left Border Patrol agents unable to process so many people.

Border Security Expo

"I'm happy to say all the work we've done last year is bearing fruit," Ragsdale said.

Ronald D. Vitiello, the Border Patrol's deputy chief, agreed. "This year is far better off than last year," he said.

Vitiello and Ragsdale made the remarks Wednesday at the Border Security Expo in Phoenix.

Authorities were overwhelmed last year with an influx of unaccompanied minors and families with children last year. More than 68,000 youths from mostly Central America crossed the border without a parent last fiscal year.

But the numbers have tapered off, and authorities expect fewer migrants this summer.

Immigrant advocates have been critical of the government's response, saying most of the children were fleeing extreme violence and threats, and should have been granted asylum.