Why is The US Interviewing People Who Cross The Border Illegally?

In a new effort headed by Homeland Security, border officials will be interviewing those who come to the U.S. without documentation to understand why they decided to cross over.

By Alain StephensNovember 2, 2015 1:00 pm

When it comes to America’s immigration policy, all eyes are on the border. Lawmakers, law enforcement and political hopefuls all talk about what they believe has caused the crisis, yet that conversation has rarely, if at all, included the people who are illegally crossing the border – until now.

In an effort to understand and counteract migrant traffic, the Department of Homeland Security has been conducting interviews of those crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Associated Press reporter Alicia Caldwell has the details on why the government has been conducting these interviews. She says U.S. immigration officials interviewed 345 people, mostly who had crossed the border in a family group, about U.S. immigration policy. The officials also asked about the costs of migrating, where people were being funneled through, what smugglers were telling them, and much more.

“The majority of those folks said immigration policy was a factor [in them coming to the U.S.],” she says, “They told U.S. border agents ‘We believe we’ll be allowed to stay in one form or another,’ be it asylum, a so-called permiso, or pass, into the U.S., or even amnesty was described by at least a few people.”

The documents she obtained of the interviews weren’t going to be shared with the public at large.

“They haven’t said why,” she says. “Internal intelligence files are not meant for public consumption. They’re largely designed for the department and agents on the ground to get a better understanding of what the situation is.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.