(NBC News) One of the thousands of Central American children who've flooded into the United States is 15-year-old Brandon Ramirez of Guatemala. He says he came with no one he knew, in a group through Mexico, across the Rio Grande by raft.
Brandon was arrested but freed to the custody of his parents, who he says escaped to the U.S. years ago.
He says he didn't like the bad things like drugs in Guatemala, and the U.S. has more opportunity.
But as the human tide rises, the reaction is growing as well.
The Vickers family is patrolling their own property on the Texas border, demanding federal officials stop what they call "criminal trespassing".
"We need something drastic," says Linda Vickers. "We need to take the gloves off and hit hard.
In Washington Monday marchers, including kids just arrived in the United States, went to the White House, demanding children be allowed to stay.
"We need to find human way to resolve that issue," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland and Virginia. "To make sure that those kids that qualify for refugee status stay here, that is number one."
Still, the White House insists that most will not qualify for that designation.
"If they don't qualify for that humanitarian relief and don't have a legal basis for remaining in this country, they will be sent back," says White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.