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Why Are Immigrant Children Flooding Across the Border? Jon Stewart Lays It Out

More than 48,000 undocumented kids have been apprehended while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this year.
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So far this year, more than 48,000 undocumented minors have been detained while crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. But increasingly, the kids aren't from Mexico. They're from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and they're fleeing from violence and poverty in their home countries, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, July 3, President Obama described the issue as "an urgent humanitarian situation," and called for $3.7 billion in funding to address it. The money would have been used to build more immigrant detention facilities, and hire more Border Patrol agents and immigration court judges.

But Congress voted down the president's request. Meanwhile, undocumented kids continue to flow into the U.S. at a rate of more than 1,000 per week. And the kicker is that many of them are unaccompanied—kids as young as seven years old are making the dangerous trek to the U.S.-Mexico border without parents or guardians.

We've got a lot of questions: Why is this crisis happening? How did things get so bad in Central America, and what can we do about it? But the most pressing question is what to do with the kids who are already in the U.S. At present, they are being thrown into detention centers while the backlogged immigration courts decide their cases—a process that can take several months.

Some politicians are calling to deport the children straight away while others, like Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, want to provide humanitarian relief to as many of them as possible.

In the video segment above, comedian Jon Stewart analyzes the crisis and the responses of various politicians. Stewart also offers his own solution for dealing with the children: "Shout at them in a language they don't understand."

In comparison to some of the politicians' suggestions, Stewart's seems almost sensible.

Correction: This article originally said that child refugees were coming from Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. They are actually coming from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The author has been sentenced to take an elementary course in geography.


Molly Rusk wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Molly is a recent graduate of the program in Creative Writing at the University of Washington and an online reporting intern at YES! Follow her on Twitter @mollylynnrusk.

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