The U.S. Government has requested additional funding to expedite deportations of child migrants presenting themselves at the U.S. border. Leading human rights, immigration policy experts and legal advocates are trying to provide context and reactions to this approach.
They argue that the Obama Administration should look at the factors that are driving children to leave their home countries and try to offer a policy response to resolve the situation comprehensively, instead of focusing exclusively on deportations.
Over the past few years the average age of these unaccompanied children has dropped and a larger proportion are girls – many of whom arrive pregnant as a result of sexual violence. The Women’s Refugee Commission signals that these children are extremely vulnerable to rape, assault and exploitation as they travel to the United States.
Once they arrive —seeking protection, safety, or to join their families— they are increasingly becoming victims of traffickers and abusers.
Since 2011, as crime and violence have increased dramatically in Mexico and Central America, the number of unaccompanied children arriving to the US from Mexico and Central America —particularly Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—has risen fivefold. Advocates point at a refugee-like situation. They also say that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees should be brought into processing centers to monitor or at least to ensure that children and families know their rights. Policy-makers and activists agree that, in order to reduce the flow of children making the dangerous journey to the United States in the first place, the U.S. must address the root causes in Central America.
Check the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ report “Children on the Run”.
The Women’s Refugee Commission issued a “Step-by-Step Guide on Apprehension and Detention of Juveniles in the United States”.
Read the Mother Jones’ article about the federal shelters that house child migrants.
Look back at the Nobel Women’s Initiative 2012 mission to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to investigate the impact of the war on drugs and increased mining operations on the lives of women.
Join the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants campaign asking the U.S. Congress to pass the emergency funding request to care for the children.
International campaign to end the detention of children, launched in 2012.