Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the children arriving at the U.S-Mexico border know they’ll be treated well, but have been misled by smugglers that a free pass to the country expires soon.
In an interview with MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday, Johnson said “first and foremost” the danger in Central America is pushing the children to leave home. Johnson said in his three visits to the border, he saw “vulnerability” in the children's eyes and “fear that I recognize as a father.”
But the children also know they will be turned over to Health and Human Services and placed in the situation that’s in their best interest, including with a parent already in the U.S., he said.
Smugglers are “stoking” misinformation telling families “permisos” or permits are available and about to expire, he said. “It’s like the used car salesman telling you the sale ends at the end of the week,” Johnson said. The children are not eligible for deferred deportations or a proposed path to citizenship, he said.