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A brief history of Central American immigration to the U.S.

By Rebecca Gibian

LOS ANGELES — Reading the headlines and political declarations booming from America’s southern border last summer, one could imagine the nation was under mortal siege.

Then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry demanded military troops be rushed to the border. Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey warned that invaders might be carrying an Ebola epidemic across the border. CNN warned of “an invasion.”

There were no enemy troops trampling across what is a heavily armed, if not militarized, U.S. border.

These “invaders” were, in fact, tens of thousands of children. Many walked unaccompanied, sometimes with a mother or adult relative, peacefully turning themselves into Border Patrol agents if confronted. More than 68,500 such unaccompanied kids were detained in fiscal year 2014, the Congressional Research Service reported.

Most were fleeing gang violence and economic devastation in Central America, seeking shelter or reunification with family members in the U.S. or a whole new life. The spike of humanity, fueled by rumors that President Obama had opened the border to migrants, completely overwhelmed the local and national immigration infrastructure and the federal government rushed to stand up detention centers to hold the new arrivals….. Read More