EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) — A surprising surge at our border.
In recent weeks, children have been caught trying to cross into the United States illegally on their own in high numbers, and it's putting a strain on federal authorities to house them.
Some unaccompanied minors are staying at the ports of entry, and an emergency shelter has been set up in San Antonio to house a thousand of these children.
"DHS Secretary Johnson has declared a Level IV condition of readiness because the current situation exceeds the capacity of both CBP and ICE," said DHS spokesperson Marsha Catron. "This condition of readiness includes: the designation of the Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol as a Federal Coordinator; sending other senior staff to south Texas to organize interagency efforts to identify additional facilities to house UACs; provide medical and other care; and develop an aggressive public messaging campaign to outline the dangers of and deter UAC migration."
Representatives are blaming our broken immigration system.
"This situation is an example of a broken immigration system and the need to fix our legal immigration channels to allow for immigrant families, in particular children, to reunite legally and safely," said Catron.
One local organization says it is important to help these children because they're vulnerable to being caught in the human trafficking trade.
"They're lost, they're alone, they're from multiple countries. They don't really have someone to confide in or to talk to," said John Martin of the Paso Del Norte Center of Hope, a group that attempts to combat trafficking in the borderland.
"We're basically building their self esteem and letting them know, regardless of where they come from, they have rights and we care for them," said Martin.
The group is looking for sponsors to donate three sets of clothing, a pair of shoes, undergarments, and a small leisure item while they wait in DHS custody.
Sponsors can call (915) 231-8882 to get information on a specific child's needs.
Those items can then be donated to the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, 1500 E. Yandell St.