Friday, August 29, 2008

Deported Children Abandoned in Mexico

This should concern everyone!


Melissa del Bosque | Texas Observer
August 15th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

A new study finds that unaccompanied children are being abandoned on the Mexican side of the border at an alarming pace.

In the last seven months, U.S. authorities have deported at least 90,000 children to Mexico, according to a study by the Mexican Government’s Commission on Population, Border and Immigration Affairs.

At least 13,500 of these children ages 17 and under were deported to Mexican border states but never reconnected with their parents or legal guardians. Many of these children have resorted to begging with the hopes of crossing into the United States again to be reunited with family members, according to the study. Other abandoned children are being cared for by churches and non-governmental organizations.

Many of these children were caught while being smuggled into the United States. U.S. authorities typically funnel the children through an “expedited” deportation process — sending them back to Mexico in a matter of hours.

The study cites another disturbing statistic: for every three adults deported to Mexico, one child is left abandoned in the United States.

Mexican border governors met with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about the deportations in February in Washington, D.C.

One of the biggest problems is lack of coordination between the U.S. and Mexican authorities. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan, governor of Baja California, told Chertoff that many children end up homeless because Mexican authorities are not advised when the children will arrive and don’t have time to find appropriate housing for them.

Eugenio Javier Hernandez Flores, the governor of Tamaulipas, said that his state receives 35,000 deported immigrants a year, many of them children. “Our governments need to work on a procedure for these undocumented children,” he said.

The Mexican governors said that among the children there were also South American and Central American children being deported to Mexico.

Edmundo Ramirez Martinez, Secretary of the Commission on Population, Borders and Migrant Affairs, told Mexican legislators that the International Convention on the Rights of Children requires that children be “repatriated” to their home countries rather than “deported.”

Repatriation means that the United States would return the child back to his or her specific home rather than abandon the child at the border.

Repatriating children, however, would cost the U.S. more time and money.

Money and effort the Bush administration thus far isn’t willing to invest.

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