EL PASO, Texas - A new study published by a group at the University of Texas at El Paso directly addresses unaccompanied migrant children coming to the United States from Central America.
"I feel like I'm still contributing. It feels like I'm still a part of it and in an essence, able to help," retired U.S. Border Patrol agent Victor Manjarrez Jr. said. He feels closely feels closely related to his team's research and who it affects.
"They're facing three issues: those who are here, those who are coming and those that are over there," Manjarrez said.
UTEP's National Center for Border Security and Immigration was founded in 2008. It's one of nine such centers supported by the Department of Homeland Security at universities across the country.
UTEP's most recent study published in March details the recent influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America who are crossing into the U.S. from the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas.
The 41-page report details the disparities in the immigration process, including miscommunication between immigration agencies, Border Patrol agents being over utilized and worked to transport and take care of unaccompanied migrant children, and processing time from arrest to shelters taking so long it contributes to detention center availability.
"What really struck me was the differing missions. You have a law enforcement agency such as DHS trying to complete their mission, and health and human services trying to complete their mission, but both competed against each other," Manjarrez said.
Research results were given to multiple agencies in hopes of improving efficiency.
"They're not coming here because they have money in their home country. They're coming because they sold everything and they're following a dream," Manjarrez said.