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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Corruption Chronicles

U.S. Launches $1 Mil Spanish Outreach Campaign on Dangers of Crossing Desert

After getting besieged with tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children in the last few months, the Obama administration is investing $1 million on a Spanish media campaign aimed at stopping the flow by publicizing the dangers of crossing the southwest border.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency in charge of the project, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is calling it the Dangers Awareness Campaign and it will target community groups, the media, parents and relatives in the U.S. and Central America. The key message, in Spanish, will be to “save and protect the lives of migrant children attempting to cross the southwest border,” according to a CBP announcement.

Hundreds of billboards will carry the message in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and thousands of public service announcements will broadcast on radio and television in those countries. The key point, according to CBP, is that the journey is too dangerous. The ads will also say that children will not get legal papers if they make it into the U.S. and the announcements will encourage Mexicans and Central Americans to protect the children, presumably by not sending them north, because “they are the future.”

The outreach campaign will also include media events in metropolitan areas of the U.S. with high concentrations of Central Americans, including Houston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York and Miami. The idea behind this is to get Central Americans living in this country—many of them illegally—to convince their relatives back home not to send their kids over. One poster features a lonely kid sitting on a rock in the middle of the desert. In Spanish it says: “I thought it would be easier for my child to get papers in the north. It wasn’t true.”

The influx has created a huge crisis for the U.S., which is housing many of the illegal alien minors at military bases. As of mid-June more than 52,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) have entered the country, according to government figures, most of them through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Border Patrol officials have told Judicial Watch that many of the UACs say reports of amnesty are responsible for the sudden deluge. A JW analysis of media coverage in the Central American countries where the youths are coming from also shows that news outlets are reporting that the U.S. will allow the minors to remain in the country. Some even quote their foreign diplomats explaining an arrangement with the U.S. government.

President Obama initially referred to the crisis as a humanitarian issue, but this week DHS expanded it to a “multifaceted humanitarian and security” issue. The most immediate problem, says CPB Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, is caring for the children. “They’re arriving exhausted and scared, in need of food and water,” he said. “Our agency and the Department of Homeland Security have mobilized to address this situation in a way consistent with our laws and our American values.” He commended his employees for their professionalism and compassion. “They’ve made heroic efforts with these children; rescuing them and caring for them in the most humane and compassionate way. I am extremely proud of their dedication and of how they have risen to this challenge.”

Time will tell if Uncle Sam’s $1 million investment pays off or at least helps slow down the flow of illegal alien children that will inevitably become the burden of America taxpayers. In addition to educating illegal border crossers about the dangers of trekking through the desert, the State Department and the White House are working with senior government officials in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico to “address the conditions in Central America that are spurring the migration,” according to the CBP announcement. Stay tuned for the results of that campaign.





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