REPORT: Liberal 9th Circuit to Blame for Rise in Children at Border

‘This staff report explores how one legal loophole …has affected the border crisis by incentivizing families to make the dangerous journey…’


IMAGE: CGTN America via Youtube

(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) In recent years, there’s been a sharp increase in so-called “family migration” at the United States–Mexico border.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., wanted to find out why.

So Johnson, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, ordered a staff report examining the massive rise in illegal aliens traveling in family unit, which he released today and detailed in a press release.

At the heart of the matter, says the report, is a single court decision that substantially reinterpreted a 1997 government settlement agreement. The report says the Flores settlement—and its resulting “catch and release” policy due to the restrictions on how long illegal children can remain in custody—has given families an incentive to make a perilous trip to the border.


The crisis dates back to 2014, when the Obama administration crafted a new policy which it said would deter illegal immigration, spurred in part by a new influx of migrant families. The policy: apprehending aliens right after they crossed the U.S. border.

Then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (no relation to the Wisconsin senator) explained that the policy would “send a message that our border is not open to illegal migration” and that illegals “should not expect to simply be released.” Following implementation of the policy, illegal border crossings of family units dropped 42 percent.

Inevitably, there was a legal challenge. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a euphemistically named pro-illegal advocacy group, sued. The liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals then issued a ruling that apprehended children had to be released within 20 days, even if they came with an adult relative.

With the court decision, the Obama administration’s hands were tied: they either had to catch and release entire families or separate children from their parents.

Obama opted for catch and release.

In sum, migrant families are making the dangerous trip to the border in greater numbers than ever because they know that if they bring children with them, they will soon be released into the United States while their cases are heard in immigration court. This process often takes years, and often they disappear before the cases are resolved.

Sen. Johnson stated the following: “This staff report explores how one legal loophole—a court decision reinterpreting the government’s 1997 Flores settlement agreement—has affected the border crisis by incentivizing families to make the dangerous journey to the border.”

He added: “With this staff report, I hope to shed more light on one of the problems bedeviling immigration enforcement. The humanitarian crisis at our southern border has evolved and changed over time, but it remains a crisis, and one that data about a wave of families and unaccompanied children shows is only getting worse.”

Democrats, of course, maintain there is no crisis on the border, and the media has only been too happy to amplify this narrative.

The conclusion of the staff report: because of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security is required to “catch and release” families at the border, and they must do this long before there is any screening for human trafficking.

In other words, the Ninth Circuit has created a situation where illegal aliens know they can get into the United States, just so long as they bring a child with them. There is no word on whether the judges on the Ninth are planning to revise their policy in the future.