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A report released on Friday cited the causes for the surge of illegal aliens across the border late last summer. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the debate over legalizing illegal aliens was “a primary cause” of thousands of Central Americans crossing into the United States illegally.

The report, which was comprised of surveys of U.S. officials on the ground in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, stated that children were pulled to the U.S. by ties to family already living here and by the belief that even if they crossed illegally, they would be given citizenship.

“For example, the State official’s response for Honduras reported that some Hondurans believed that comprehensive immigration reform in the United States would lead to a path to citizenship for anyone living in the United States at the time of reform,” the GAO said.

During fiscal year 2014, about 60,000 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from Mexico and the three key Central American countries, traveling without their parents, crossed into the U.S., with 10,000 coming in May and another 10,000 in June alone.

While the administration claims that "push" factors in the Central American countries are more to blame than "pull" factors in the U.S. for the border surge, Border Patrol agents have said otherwise. They claim that most of the children they interviewed believed they could earn tentative status in the U.S. thanks to lax enforcement of immigration laws.

The GAO backs up the Border Patrol agents testimony. As reported in the Washington Times, "Even if the children weren’t eligible for asylum or legal status when they arrived, deportations could take years, giving the youths a chance to disappear into the shadows along with the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S."

Read the full GAO report

2014 border surge
border control

Updated: Tue, Mar 17th 2015 @ 10:30am EDT