Propaganda targets immigrants, promises safe passage

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POSTED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 3:45pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 7:50am

There is a new kind of ad campaign going on Central America. 

People there are being told now is the time to come to the United States; before immigration reform takes place and the doors close. 

Immigration experts say this is one of the reasons why the Rio Grande Valley has seen a record rise in illegal immigration. 

"They've been told in their home country," said Chris Cabrera of the Border Patrol Council. "Whether through media or word of mouth, from family and friends who've already made it up here, is that if they come into the United States, the United States won't turn them away if they're traveling as a family or a young kid by themselves."

Others who work with immigrants say word is getting out through every kind of media: television, newspapers, even billboards. They say those who are spreading the message have ulterior motives. 

"It's a business for some people," said Martha Sanchez of immigrant-rights group La Union del Pueblo Entero. "They go in there, and they make commercials on this. That their children are being left alone, that their children are getting status here. That now is the time."

Unattended minors crossing the border has nearly doubled this year versus the same period last year. The Border Patrol has been overwhelmed as it tries to process the massive numbers of immigrants. Women and children who cross are being released. They only need to give a promise to attend their scheduled court date. 

Those who are considering making the journey believe that's the free pass they need.

 

"Some of these people go in there and promotes and says 'this is the time,'" Sanchez said. "So they borrow money, they sell everything that they have, and they venture to come here." 

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