Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

O'Neil analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.

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Immigration Reform Is Dead, Precisely When We Need It Most

by Shannon K. O'Neil
June 13, 2014

Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children, who just disembarked from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus wait for a Greyhound official to process their tickets to their next destination at a Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona, May 29, 2014 (Samantha Sais/Courtesy Reuters).


With Eric Cantor’s loss earlier this week, most believe immigration reform is dead. Yet with tens of thousands of Mexican and Central American children flooding across the U.S. southern border, a legislative overhaul is even more important. In this piece for Foreign Policy, I look at why these kids are coming and what we need to do about it. You can read the beginning of the piece below:

Among the faithful, there has been at least faint hope that after the primary season ends and before midterms begin immigration reform might occur. President Barack Obama even held off on reviewing deportation policies in May to give space for a legislative fix. But now, with Eric Cantor’s loss in his House primary to Tea Party outsider David Brat, that slim chance is pretty much nil.

The tragedy is that this setback is occurring precisely at a time when the human cost of our broken immigration system has again made the headlines, this time in the faces of thousands of undocumented children flooding across the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended over 47,000 unaccompanied youths at the border over the last eight months—mostly from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—overwhelming U.S. border facilities and detention centers. With the UNHCR reporting that the numbers will reach 60,000 this year, this has the makings of a full-blown humanitarian crisis.

You can read the rest of the piece here on

Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by Kurt Thialfad

    “Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children,…”

    So what’s the deal? Are they tourists, just coming to see Disneyland? They have money, don’t they? Foreigners visit the US all the time. There are no wars in Guatamala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Just so long as the American taxpayer is not paying for this family’s vacation in the USA, I’m all for it.

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