Faced with a growing wave of child migrants crossing from Central America to the US, President Barack Obama has urged the parents of the thousands of unaccompanied minors to stop sending their children on perilous journeys.
Obama was in Texas for talks on how to solve the crisis.
‘‘While we intend to do the right thing by these children, their parents need to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation and it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay. And, I’ve asked parents across Central America not to put their children in harm’s way in this fashion,’‘ the president said.
Obama, who has faced flak from critics for focusing too much on security, is calling on Congress to back his $3.7 billion (2.7 billion euro) request to tackle the crisis by strengthening border security.
With resources stretched in Texas many minors have been transferred to centres in California, recently the scene of both pro- and anti-migrant protests.
Parents say a better life in the US is why they are sending their children.
‘‘Now my only wish is to hug my children and to have them close and tell them that I love them. I want to take back all the missed time that has passed without them,’‘ said one mother at a protest in support of the migrants.
Since last October, more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors, most from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, have been caught illegally crossing the south west US border.