AMERICA/MEXICO - Migrant children: roughly one in every four travelers is an infant

Thursday, 3 August 2023

Mexico City (Fides News Agency) - Organized crime, human trafficking, abuse, these are just some of the phenomena in which migrant children travelling alone to escape Mexico face.
"The issue of unaccompanied minors travelling solo has been going on for a long time" Fides News Agency was told by Francisco Javier Acero, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mexico City. "It's a phenomenon that's become more visible since 2014 and, most of all, with social networking sites in 2018 - added the prelate, who's also in charge of pastoral care of migrants. In 2021 the image of an unaccompanied child lost the desert in the USA, rescued by an army patrol, caused an uproar".

Acero also outlined the great commitment the Church has always shown for migrants children and teens. "Whenever they reach a reception house we make sure to inform the authorities of their home countries to organize repatriation", he clarified. "In some immigrant houses where nuns are present, they receive shelter as well as a psychotherapy service to support them".
The prelate also discussed the many risks children take by travelling alone through Mexico. "Besides human trafficking and abuse, these little victims will encounter further difficulties when they cross the border and seek asylum in the United States."

"The situation of the immigration of minors is a challenge, for their home countries as well as for the United States, and has generated debates and criticism around immigration and humanitarian policies", the auxiliary stated.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing one of the world's biggest and most complex migration crises. In that region, roughly one in every four travelers is an infant".
Among the causes for their departure are violence and insecurity linked with organized crime, poverty and lack of opportunity in their countries, or to reunite with their parents who live in the United States. "One of the solutions" - Mons. Acero suggested - is the establishment of a humanitarian corridor with other countries through dioceses outside of Mexico". The issue is a little complex as it requires 'dialogue with other Churches' and keeping the laws of other countries in mind. "It is heartening to know that in some dioceses in countries where immigration laws are not as strict, humanitarian corridors and intervention are already being discussed".

(AP) (3/8/2023 Fides News Agency)