The summer of 2014 saw a surge in the number of immigrant children and teenagers crossing the border from Central America into the United States via the northern border of Mexico, resulting in the heated debate surrounding US immigration policy being reignited. President Barack Obama’s request for contingency funds to the tune of $500 million in addition to the already approved $950 million was granted in order to deal with unaccompanied minors.
The funds and plans seem to have been a success, at least in terms of stopping the immigrants from getting into the United States. According to a new report, Behind Closed Doors: Mexico’s Failure to Protect Central American Refugee and Migrant Children, an ever-increasing number of immigrant minors from Central America are now being caught and put in detention in Mexico, even as the amount of unaccompanied immigrant minors fleeing violence grows along with concern on the apparently poor conditions of detention centers in that country.
The apprehension of unaccompanied immigrant minors from Central America increased by as much as 70 percent between 2014 and 2015, even as detentions in the United States fell by 22 percent, implying that youngsters are being headed off by Mexican authorities before they get to the southern border of the US.
While underage immigrants in the United States have complained of alleged abuses, the worst aspect of detention in Mexico is that they are treated as prisoners and held for very long periods of time despite many having family members in Mexico to whom they could be released.