U.S. needs ‘to do right’ for immigrant children: official

Demonstrators picket before the possible arrival of undocumented migrants who may be processed at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, California July 4, 2014.

(Reuters) – A top U.S. official said on Sunday the U.S. border is not open to illegal entry into the country, but acknowledged the government does need to be sensitive to the tens of thousands of migrant children flowing into detention centers.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have been caught trying to sneak over the U.S.-Mexico border since October, double the number from the same period the year before. Thousands more have been apprehended with parents or other adults.

“We have to do right by the children, but at the end of the day, our border is not open to illegal migration and we will stem the tide,” Jeh Johnson, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Johnson said that the government administers deportation proceedings to illegal migrants seized at the border, including children. But he added that the government is looking at being more flexible toward the children seized at the border.

“We are looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children, in particular, consistent with our laws and our values,” Johnson said.

Johnson repeated the stance, taken by President Barack Obama last week, that the president would take executive action to revamp the U.S. immigration system…

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