An exodus from Central America tests the U.S.
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For the smugglers on the Southern border of the U.S., children are easier and more profitable cargo than grownups. Unlike adults, kids don’t need to evade authorities after they cross the Rio Grande. When they get caught, many are quickly sent to live with relatives already in the U.S. while the courts spend years processing their deportation.
And so in recent weeks the Obama Administration has found itself in a bizarre public relations battle with criminal cartels in Central America, which are enjoying a banner year by charging as much as $8,000 for each child they transport north. Over the past eight months, 34,611 unaccompanied children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have been detained at the U.S. border, more than 10 times the 3,304 figure from those countries in 2009.