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Monitored by a caretaker, young unaccompanied immigrants, ages 3-9, in a playpen at a Homeland Security holding facility in Donna, Texas, last month. Photo: Dario Lopez-Mills - Pool/Getty Images

A Mexican law against the detention of minors who are headed to the U.S. border may unintentionally be encouraging more attempts by children to cross over.

The state of play: Teenagers from Honduras told Reuters they decided to cross to the U.S. through Mexico because of the law, which gives them temporary protection from deportation, as they felt safer making the attempt.

  • The law came into force in late January, before a record number of children crossing from Mexico were intercepted by U.S. border authorities in March.

Why it matters: Both the U.S. and Mexican governments are trying to lessen the hardships for unaccompanied minors who see migrating as their best choice, but are struggling to handle the influx.

Between the lines: Some of those children are being affected by the dangers along the way. In the recent case of a boy rescued in the desert by himself, his mother was kidnapped in Mexico, so he tried to cross alone.

What’s next: Vice President Kamala Harris said she’ll be visiting Mexico and Guatemala soon, while Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador will travel to his country’s southern border to talk to local politicians about ways to combat smuggling that affects children.

  • The Biden administration also faces a possible increase in crossings because of lawsuits against immigration measures, including a Trump policy of quickly expelling adults who crossed over illegally.

Go deeper

Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala to address "root causes" of border crossings

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Harris said Wednesday she plans to visit Mexico and Guatemala "as soon as possible" in a diplomatic effort to address surging migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has reached crisis levels. Harris, appointed by Biden as border czar, said she would be looking at the "root causes" that drive migration.

Border Democrats seek asylum revamp, more help from feds

Rep. Veronica Escobar. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

Two border-district Democrats in Congress are pressing the Biden administration to revamp the asylum process, saying the current migrant surge is highlighting significant flaws in the system.

Why it matters: These lawmakers say the administration needs to start making concrete changes by summer. "If it's this bad in 90 days, it's hard to have excuses," Rep. Vicente Gonzalez told Axios.

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

A sign warns consumers on the avaliability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station in Smyrna, Georgia, on May 11. The average national price of gasoline has risen to $2.985 a gallon, Bloomberg notes. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.