The White House today acknowledged that a perception in Central America that President Obama’s policies will allow people who cross the border to stay is helping drive the massive flow of illegal immigrants into the country.
The administration had previously emphasized that dire economic conditions were causing an exodus from south of the border.
But officials of course blamed not themselves and their lax enforcement – and the end-runs they have been making around Congress to allow more people to stay – but “misinformation” being spread by criminals.
According to White House Domestic Policy Director Cecelia Munoz, who spoke in a conference call with reporters.:
We’re doing everything possible both to support countries in stemming the tide of this migration, but also to deal with the misinformation that is being deliberately planted by criminal organizations, by smuggling networks, about what people can expect if they come to the United States. That is misinformation that is being promulgated and put forward in a very deliberate way.
And part of what the Vice President’s effort as well as the administration effort overall is to make sure that people have accurate information and that we push back on the misinformation that is being spread and which is contributing to this problem.
Vice President Biden has been traveling in Latin America.
National Security Council Western Hemisphere director Ricardo Zuniga said Latin American leaders are being urged to combat the false understanding of American policies:
Our embassies in those countries are also undertaking public messaging and the governments themselves are making clear to their own publics that people who travel — that minors who travel under this current migration are not going to be eligible for deferred action, nor will they be benefiting from any comprehensive immigration reform.
In a phone call with Mexican President Nieto Thursday, Obama emphasized that children who cross the border from Central America would likely be sent back, indicating that the misperception extends even to Latin American leaders.
The White House announced several steps to try to address the problem, including dispatching additional immigration judges and other officials to help process detainees, creating additional space for those who are here, and providing funds to Latin American countries to assist with repatriation.