The practice of children illegally crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. without any parents or guardians is increasing dramatically.

Mother Jones reports:

Over the past five years, the number of undocumented children—mostly teens, but some as young as five—apprehended crossing the border without parents or guardians has tripled, rising from 8,041 in fiscal year 2008 to 24,481 in fiscal 2012, with a 52 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 alone. Countless others…made the trip without getting caught. A major factor in the increase, known simply as “the surge” to government officials and child-welfare advocates, appears to be the rise in gang violence in Central America.

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