AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The plight of child migrants from Central America and forced to repatriate

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The Pentagon has announced that it will host 1,800 undocumented children who arrived alone in the United States, mostly from Central America, because their number has exceeded the carrying capacity of the centers set up for this purpose and have created a true "humanitarian crisis" (see Fides 05/06/2014). According to a note sent to Fides, the government is moving with urgency and is transfering children to three military bases and in a federal detention center in order to avoid overcrowding of the facilities of the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP).
The number of children and young people who risk their lives to cross Central America and arrive in the United States has doubled every year since 2011, when it did not exceed 7,000. The federal authorities have noted a dramatic increase of illegal entry of unaccompanied minors (many of them under 12 years of age) and for 2014 they estimate that it will reach the record of more than 60,000 undocumented children.
Faced with this emergency, the federal authorities in Nogales (Arizona) have already moved more than a thousand children from the cells of the CBP to the premises of the Border Police. The Honorary Consul of Honduras in Arizona, Tony Banegas, visited the buildings set up for the boys in Nogales on Saturday, June 7 and commented: "It is a real tragedy. They are in a basement and sleep in plastic containers with a thermal blanket such as those of paper-aluminum. They said they hope to soon have mattresses ... they use portable toilets". The Consul, according to the note, wanted to meet each of the 236 Honduran children in the temporary center, which is "surrounded by barbed wire".
Sister Valdett Willeman, of the Scalabrini Missionaries, is the current director of the Returning Migrants Assistance Center (CAMR). In a note sent to Fides, the religious states that in the month of May more than 100 children were repatriated by air. So far, only in this first period of 2014, over 3,000 children have been repatriated, but in recent years their number exceeds 15,000. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 11/06/2014)