The number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border illegally has jumped by more than 1,200 percent in the past five years, a new Congressional Research Service report says
, and another new record could be set this year.
"This unexpected surge of children strained U.S. government resources and created a complex crisis with humanitarian implications," the report says, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
"Experts warn that significant migration flows will continue until policymakers in the countries of origin and the international community address the poor socio-economic and security conditions driving Central Americans to leave their homes."
According to the agency, the flow of unaccompanied children has already increased in the first five months of fiscal year 2016, with nearly 20,000 already being apprehended. The illegal immigration record is 2014, when U.S. officials caught more than 52,000 children.
Most of the children were from Central American nations including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and analysts say even more will travel north because of continuing poor economic conditions and the United States' favorable immigration policy.
Adding to the issue, none of the governments are able to effectively track the children once they're returned, and many end up trying again.
In fiscal year 2015, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 178 unaccompanied children to El Salvador, 544 to Guatemala, and 419 to Honduras, for a total of 1,141 children. However, more than 28,300 unaccompanied children were stopped at the border that year.
Meanwhile, the United States has been spending millions to increase border security and to assist Central American countries.
The State Department, as of February, has awarded $20 million to strengthen Mexico's southern border, and assistance could total $748 million in fiscal 2016 and $771 million in fiscal 2017.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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