Thousands of Central American minors, like this 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, make the dangerous journey across Mexico every year in the attempt to reach the United States. Credit:Wilfredo Díaz/IPS
SAN SALVADOR , Oct 1 2012 (IPS) - For many undocumented child migrants from Central America, Mexico is the end of the road in their endeavour to reach the United States, driven by economic reasons, gang violence and domestic violence.
“Children have always migrated, and they have always been the most vulnerable,” Mexican academic Carolina Rivera, of the Centre for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico, told IPS.
Since the flow of Central American migrants to the United States intensified in the 1980s due to the civil wars lashing the region, family breakdown has become a bigger and bigger problem. Parents leave in search of a better future and leave their children in the care of grandparents or other relatives.
According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, around 15 percent of the 11.5 million undocumented Latin American migrants in the United States are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Added to the need for family reunification and the traditional economic reasons are other motives, like domestic violence, driving children and adolescents to leave the region, said Rivera, who has experience in the field with Central Americans in Mazatán, in the impoverished southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Read more.