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Illegal Immigration into the US

Illegal immigration was a serious crisis during the 80's and 90's, when well over a million people (almost all Mexican) were illegally crossing the border every year. Since then, though, it's fallen by over 80%, and illegal immigration from Mexico has fallen by roughly 90%. Over the last decade, though, illegal immigration from Central America has risen from basically nothing to roughly half of the total.

By and large, it's mostly the Mexican half that comes looking for work. The Central American half is mostly people fleeing from the cities of Honduras and El Salvador and rural Guatemala. In Honduras and El Salvador, gangs effectively operate as shadow governments in urban areas, conscripting boys to effectively act as child soldiers and girls to act as sex slaves. In rural Guatemala, the indigenous population isn't receiving much protection from the Spanish-speaking police force, and crime and domestic violence are high.

Obviously, neither of these are great situations to raise kids in, so a lot of families are fleeing to the US. When they get here, they generally present themselves to border patrol and request asylum. Under the previous system, they were placed in administrative detention (in which families can stay together) while a judge reviewed their case. 77% of those cases were granted, and the people were placed in ankle monitors and released while the rest of the asylum processing took place. The remainder were deported to their home countries.

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