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The Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S. – Mexico Border

On July 8, 2014, President Barack Obama requested $3.7 billion dollars from the U.S. Congress in hopes of resolving the developing issue at the U.S – Mexico Border. Approximately 52,000 children have traveled to the United States from Central America and Mexico, since October 2013. The number of children coming to the U.S. is presumed to surpass 90,000 by the end of this year. Many children have been apprehended, creating the humanitarian crisis of deporting them or allowing them to stay in amnesty.

The majority of children are recorded as citizens of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Surveys have shown that a large number of them are migrating to escape violence. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recorded that over 48% of the children have directly experienced the violence of the drug cartels, gangs, and corruption in their country. In fact, Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the world, and gangs are forming all over El Salvador and Honduras.

According to international standard, 50% of these children would meet the requirements for humanitarian status. Some of the children are sent home at the Mexican border before they even come close to the U.S. border. Interviews of these children and their parents have demonstrated that their parents do not want to separate from their children but that they feel their children are in danger if they remain home. Forcing them to change countries is in their eyes, the most unselfish decision they have to make as a parent. They also do not want their children growing up and becoming a part of the gangs as a means to survival. Some have also claimed they would go to family members who live in Costa Rica or Belize in order to escape since the United States is far and the risk of deportation and being separated from their families forever is so great. This is not a bad choice as only an estimated 1% of the children are given a legal status.

As we know, Obama has slowed the deportations of minors who have arrived prior to 2007, and many opposing Americans believe that this announcement is the reason for these children crossing the border. Others insist that children were coming to the U.S. before Obama’s announcement in 2012. Regardless, the fact is that since 2010 the number of children crossing the U.S. border has doubled annually.

As a result of the large intake in children, the Presidential administration is attempting to dissuade immigrants from leaving their home countries by explaining the risks and dangers that exist, through publicity on their television channels, radio stations and the internet in their homes. There are no guarantees that the attempts being made will prove successful, but President Obama is trying to create a civilized resolution. Even so, if the conditions in these countries does not change, then the people will continue to look for salvation elsewhere.