Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonDemocrat unveils bill requiring banks to identify suspicious activity related to guns 'Squad' members recruit Raskin to run for Oversight gavel Lawmakers wager local booze, favorite foods in World Series bets MORE (D-D.C.) said that the recent surge in unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southwestern border is due in part to deporting drug criminals.

Norton said that the deportations of criminals inadvertently facilitated the expansion of gangs and drug cartels in Central America.

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"It was understandable that the U.S. deported the criminals, who gave rise to the Central American transnational gangs and drug cartels. However, with the children now fleeing to the U.S., we are paying a price," Norton said at a roundtable at Carlos Rosario International Public School in D.C.

She argued that the U.S. bears at least some responsibility for assisting Central American countries struggling with gang violence. Most of the unaccompanied children this summer came from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

"We cannot escape some of the responsibility for assisting these countries to quell the gang violence," Norton said.

The D.C. region - including the District, Virginia and Maryland - is home to one of the largest Hispanic populations in the U.S.

While a record number of unaccompanied minors traveled across the border in the late spring and early summer, numbers have trickled down in recent months. Immigration experts say that apprehensions typically drop by late summer due to the weather.