Jeh Johnson, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, penned an open letter to parents who may be considering sending their children across the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Johnson says that the journey is "unsafe" and that there are no "free passes at the end." The letter was published in Latino media markets in Spanish.
"I have one simple message: Sending your child to travel illegally into the United States is not the solution," he wrote. "It is dangerous to send a child on the long journey from Central America to the United States."
According to Politico, children from Central America -- primarily Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras -- have tried to enter the country illegallly in record numbers this year. It's reported that about 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended along the southwestern border this fiscal year.
Democrats have argued that the spike in unaccompanied children is due to violence and gang activity in the three countries. Republicans, however, have criticized what they view as lax immigration policies. President Barack Obama's administration is now attempting to combat the misconception that unaccompanied children can stay in the United States. "Let me be clear: There is no path to deffered action or citizenship, or one being contemplated by Congress, for a child who crosses our border illegally today," Johnson wrote. "Rather, under current U.S. laws and policies, anyone who is apprehended crossing our border illegally is a priority for deportation, regardless of age."
On Friday, the Obama administration announced several moves to spped up deportations of immigrants entering illegally. These include opening new detention facilities for immigrant families and sending additional immigration court judges to the border to process cases more quickly.
What do you think of Jeh Johnson's letter? Read it in English at The Huffington Post.