U.S. officials struggling to deal with a crush of children and undocumented immigrants arriving on the Texas-Mexico border are waging a war of words to keep more from coming. Many children and other immigrants have arrived from violent and impoverished countries after hearing that families and the young get to stay in the U.S once they make it across. Now, the federal government is trying to counter with a Spanish-language campaign essentially designed to frighten those considering the journey.
The warning: Those who risk such journeys could be easy prey for ‘coyotes’ and criminal organizations, be robbed or subjected to violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor. More, federal officials warn: Don’t believe the smugglers. Those who make it will end up in line for deportation.
Customs and Border Protection said the campaign will target areas of the country with high Central American populations such as Houston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York and Miami in an attempt to stop immigrants in the U.S. from encouraging family members to cross. Ads will also run in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. About 6,500 announcements will run on television and radio, and messages will be placed on billboards as well, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
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First published July 2 2014, 5:44 PM
Suzanne Gamboa is a senior writer for NBCNews.com. She started in January 2014. Gamboa is responsible for editing, reporting and writing stories about Latinos and how the population's expansion is reshaping the U.S. Gamboa joined NBCNews.com from NBC Latino, where she was political editor, responsible for writing, editing and assigning political coverage.
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Prior to her role at NBC Latino, Gamboa had worked 13 years in the Washington, D.C. bureau of The Associated Press, where she covered politics, immigration and border and U.S.-Mexico issues, veterans, the Texas congressional delegation and most recently race and ethnicity, a beat she helped build. She also worked at the AP in Texas and at the Austin American-Statesman.
Gamboa lives in Washington, D.C.