Child migrants head north fleeing violence, and believing they will be allowed to stay

“On the last day of school, Gladys Chinoy memorized her mother’s phone number in New York City and boarded a bus to Guatemala’s northern border. With nothing but the clothes on her back, the 14-year-old took a truck-tire raft across the Naranjo River into Mexico and joined a group of five women and a dozen children waiting with one of the smugglers who are paid $6,000 to $7,000 for each migrant they take to the U.S.”

So begins a Big Story article by Alberto Arce on the AP website.

Recently, we mentioned the film, ‘The Golden Dream’, about the journey north of four young Guatemalan migrants to the US. What we don’t know in Diego Quemada-Diez’s film were the reasons for their journey into the unknown. Why do people leave the safety and comfort of their family, the home, their community, their people? What drives them to make such a journey fraught with danger? Why do people at their destination treat them as criminals and terrorists, while at the same time doing so in the knowledge that without their vulnerability to be fully exploited, the economy of the US would be seriously affected? The shameless hypocrisy and duplicity of power is breathtaking and damning.

Arce continues, “the number of unaccompanied minors detained on the U.S. border has more than tripled since 2011. Children are also widely believed to be crossing with their parents in rising numbers, although the Obama administration has not released year-by-year figures.

A vast majority were fleeing gang violence that has reached epidemic levels in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in recent years. The migrants also uniformly said they decided to head north because they had heard that a change in U.S. law requires the Border Patrol to swiftly release children and their mothers and let them stay in the United States.

The belief that women and children can safely surrender to authorities the moment they set foot in the U.S. has changed the calculus for tens of thousands of parents who no longer worry about their children finishing the dangerous trip north through Mexico with a potentially deadly multiday hike through the desert Southwest.”

They first have to get that far, of course.

The Golden Dream continues showing in the UK.

You can read the full article here.

Categories: Poverty, Violence

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