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Biden In Central America To Clarify U.S. Immigration Policy

The vice president seeks to clear up the misconception that children who make it to the U.S. are guaranteed to stay.

Biden In Central America To Clarify U.S. Immigration Policy
Flickr / Center for American Progress Action Fund
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Vice President Joe Biden is in Central America this weekend to clear up confusion about the ongoing issue of illegal child immigration. (Via Flickr / Center for American Progress Action Fund)

Namely, the belief that if a child makes it into the U.S., he or she is guaranteed to stay. It's a misconception growing from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama in 2012. 

"It allows some illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. as children to defer deportation." â€‹(Via KJTV)

Wording like that adds to the confusion — in reality, DACA aims to avoid deportation for children who are already in the U.S. and have been since at least 2007. It does not apply to new arrivals, and that's what Biden is trying to clear up.

BIDEN: "We're working to bring about change for 11 million undocumented women, men and children." â€‹(Via KJTV)​

Biden will meet with the president of Guatemala, along with representatives from Honduras and El Salvador. CNN reports there likely won't be any major announcements, but:

"This shows just how important this has been to the administration. They've been wanting to publicly show that they're getting out publicly in front of this problem, especially if those numbers are going to keep growing." (Via CNN)

Those "numbers" being the number of young people waiting to go through deportation proceedings in states like Texas — so far in this budget year, about 50,000 young illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. from Central America.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, administration officials are looking for $160 million in new funds from Congress for processing. 

And the Times calls the visit a shift in policy for the administration, which has "shown an almost reflexive defensiveness about its immigration policies." 

The Hill quotes White House spokesman Josh Earnest: "​If there are steps that these countries can take to ensure the safety of their children and to dissuade parents from entrusting them in the hands of strangers to try to deliver them to the United States, we'd like to shut that off as quickly as we can."

Other commenters are a little more colorful.

GERALDO RIVERA: "We must make the nations of Central America pay financially, morally, legally." (Via Fox News)

Biden will also likely promise aid to poverty-stricken nations such as Guatemala. At home, the children face poverty and threats from gangs; the trek to the U.S. is incredibly dangerous; and once they arrive — they face deportation.