U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, fresh off a trip to Texas she organized to expect the U.S.-Mexico border, said on Saturday that the majority of immigrants entering the country illegally are teenage boys.
“Prior to my visit there yesterday I was under the impression that most of these children were very young. In fact, most of them are teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 17,” Collins told me on WGAN’s Inside Maine this weekend. “That doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a huge problem — it is. But it changes the complexion of the problem and what our approach needs to be. It suggests to me that many of these boys are coming to this country in search of work… There were some very young children that we saw as well, they were usually accompanied by their mothers.”
“But the vast majority of the children who coming in are teenage boys,” she said.
The reality Collins reports differs sharply from the narrative in the mainstream media — a narrative which has frequently portrayed the older, job-seeking male immigrants as children between the ages of 5 and 10. In fact, Collins said she was moved to go to the border because of sensationalized and inaccurate reports in the media.
“Obviously the border is not secure or we would not have this enormous influx of people into our country,” she said.
Collins said the U.S. should return illegal immigrants to their home countries unless they have a “credible claim to asylum” — noting that “most do not.”
“They are under the impression — an impression that has several causes but that the President has been very slow to counter — that if they make it to the border they’re going to be allowed into our country and they’re going to be allowed to stay here. And that’s why I think it is so important for us to act very quickly to return these children to their home country unless they have a credible claim to asylum, and most of them do not,” she said.
Listen to my entire interview with Sen. Collins here:
Editor, The Maine Wire