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Sat Dec 26, 2015, 02:18 PM

'I'm alone': migrant children explain why they risked crossing the border

Among the sadder stories of the past year ...


The recent spike in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border brought US Customs and Border Protection commissioner R Gil Kerlikowske to the Rio Grande Valley sector this month.

“Historically the numbers would not be at the levels we see right now,” Kerlikowske said, while standing in a warehouse where about 20 migrant children rested on large green mattresses, wrapped in reflective plastic blankets. “The concerning part is, are we seeing the new normal?”

A total of 10,588 unaccompanied children crossed the US-Mexico border in October and November, more than double the 5,129 who crossed during the same two months in 2014, federal statistics show. The number of family members crossing together, meanwhile, has nearly tripled, to 12,505. And though the influx began in July, the numbers were slightly higher this fall, a time when colder weather usually drives down the number of migrants crossing.

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