Earlier this week, President Obama issued a memorandum calling for a unified and coordinated U.S. government response to the influx of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) across the U.S. southwest border. The presidential memorandum was directed to heads of executive branch departments and agencies, and calls for the formation of an interagency Unified Coordination Group to ensure unity of effort in responding to the humanitarian aspects of the UAC situation.
Obama chose Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to establish the Unified Coordination Group, and Johnson chose Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate to coordinate the group of agencies. The Unified Coordination Group will include representatives from the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, State, and Defense, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the General Services Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They will also work closely with the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to counter the recent surge in migrant children.
According to Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, the number of UAC crossing the U.S. border has increased more than 90% compared to last year, with most of these children coming from other Central American countries. Increasing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras is one of the driving forces in the increase in child migrants.
For more information about the presidential memorandum, please follow the links below.
Presidential Memorandum – Response to the Influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children Across the Southwest Border, White House
Statement by Secretary Johnson on Increased Influx of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children at the Border, Department of Homeland Security
Children Traveling Solo Across U.S. Border Face Dangerous Trip, NPR
U.S. to Establish Interagency to Deal with Humanitarian Crisis of Unaccompanied Migrant Children, Latino Daily News