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World Big rise in migrant children on Mexico-US border

02:50  20 april  2021
02:50  20 april  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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The number of migrant children trying to reach the US from Mexico has increased ninefold since the start of 2021, UN children 's agency Unicef says. The rise from 380 to nearly 3,500 has overwhelmed the facilities at Mexico 's reception centres, it says. The children are mainly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico itself. " We are deeply concerned that living conditions for migrant children and mothers in Mexico could soon deteriorate further," said Jean Gough, Unicef's regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Children without adult supervision or family in Mexico are supposed to be flown back to their home countries, according to U . S . policy. The Trump administration in March began turning away migrants and asylum seekers who crossed the U . S .- Mexico border illegally instead of moving them into detention centers, a policy the administration had sought in the past that was blocked by federal courts, saying the policy change was necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of migrant children trying to reach the US from Mexico has increased ninefold since the start of 2021, UN children's agency Unicef says.

The rise from 380 to nearly 3,500 has overwhelmed the facilities at Mexico's reception centres, it says.

The children are mainly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico itself. Half arrived without parents.

Nearly 300 children are added to their number every day, as they wait to cross into the US or are sent back.

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In border towns like Reynosa migrant families are establishing makeshift camps.

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The US is bracing for a 20-year high in numbers of migrants arriving at the southern border , including thousands of children who are being kept in government-run detention facilities that critics say are inhumane. The record-breaking influx of children has left US immigration officials scrambling for solutions to a growing humanitarian crisis. President Joe Biden has urged migrants not to attempt to travel to the US border - "Don't leave your town or city or community," he said in a recent interview - but with Donald Trump out of office, some believe immigration to the US is now more possible.

In particular the number of unaccompanied children at the centres - that means children travelling without their parents or guardians - has increased dramatically. In a press conference at the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki agreed that the current situation at the US - Mexico border has become a " big problem". People who are critical of Joe Biden's policies have said this decision may have contributed to the new rise in migrants travelling to the border , especially children , as they believe they will be given amnesty.

"We are deeply concerned that living conditions for migrant children and mothers in Mexico could soon deteriorate further," said Jean Gough, Unicef's regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Migrant children wait to enter a temporary shelter in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico © Reuters Migrant children wait to enter a temporary shelter in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

Many families will end up attempting to send their children over the border unaccompanied or via people traffickers, in the hope that - once inside the US - President Joe Biden's administration will reunite them with family members there, reports the BBC's Latin American correspondent Will Grant.

However, the Mexican government has recently sent troops to its southern border to clamp down on migration north, and many more unaccompanied young people and migrants' families are likely to be detained in the coming weeks, our correspondent says.

Last week, President Biden reversed course hours after signing an order to keep the number of refugees admitted annually to the US at Trump-era levels.

Reports say Mr Biden is concerned about letting in more people amid a record influx at the US-Mexico border.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!