- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2017

More than 23,000 illegal immigrant children and families were nabbed on the southwest border in December, according to Border Patrol statistics released this week that show the administration still struggling to deal with a problem that’s now dogged it for three years.

And the number of Haitians streaming to the border’s legal ports of entry demanding to be admitted even though they lack visas is also soaring. More than 7,000 have already been encountered through the first three months of the fiscal year — more than the entire previous year combined.

Many of the Haitians are demanding asylum, having been coached by either family or smugglers to try to exploit a weakness in the American immigration process.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection saw a dip in arrivals along the Southwest Border in December, although overall total migration remained at elevated levels, primarily due to family units and unaccompanied children from Central America, Haitian nationals migrating from Brazil, and Cuban nationals,” Homeland Security said in releasing the numbers.

President Obama is leaving the White House having overseen a rocky time at Homeland Security. Overall apprehension numbers, which were nearly 725,000 in 2008, before he took office, have dipped below 500,000 a year for almost his entire tenure.

But he’s struggled to deal with unaccompanied children and families who have surged north, fleeing harsh conditions in Central America and enticed into the U.S. by lax enforcement policies.

Since 2012, more than 222,000 unaccompanied minors and more than 236,000 families traveling together have been nabbed by the Border Patrol.

They have strained resources within Homeland Security, forcing the department to open special processing facilities and take agents away from patrolling the border to perform what leaders said amounts to babysitting and day care duties.

The department has also faced a series of lawsuits over its treatment of the children and families.

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