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Star-Telegram - What should Texas do regarding the border crisis?

This questions was recently reviewed and answered in March of 2014 by UTEP and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI).  The Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas has witnessed a significant increase in illegal immigration over the last three years that has impacted Department of Homeland Security enforcement entities. Within this overall increase of illegal immigration the region has also seen a substantial increase of unaccompanied alien children that are mostly classified as Other Than Mexican nationals. The large influx of UACs has caused DHS some difficulty in meeting the requirements of the Flores v. Reno Settlement Agreement, which stipulates that the UAC will be placed in the custody of an organization that can appropriately care for the UAC. The two DHS components mostly impacted by these increases are Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations. The Health and Human Services Department, Office of Refugee and Resettlement, is the agency responsible for long-term placement of UACs in contracted shelters while UACs await their immigration hearings.


  • The number of UACs in the Rio Grande Valley/Harlingen Field Office geographical area has seen an increase of 367.6 percent since fiscal year 2011.

  • Most UACs are Other Than Mexican nationals, which causes significant increases in processing time (administrative/criminal casework) and requirements for long term detention.

  • Each morning the HHS ORR Intake Center has approximately 30-90 initial placement referral requests pending from the previous night.

  • The national discharge rate of UACs is approximately 80-90 per day.

  • There are approximately 5,000 beds available in the HHS ORR network that service approximately 25,000 UACs annually.


UTEP and the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (NCBSI)

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