Uprooted in Central America and Mexico: Migrant and refugee children face a vicious cycle of hardship and danger

Date of Publication: 
August, 2018
Source Organization: 

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)’s August 2018 “Child Alert” outlines the harsh process and painful consequences of migration on children and families fleeing extreme violence and poverty in Central America and Mexico. These conditions, combined with, lack of economic and educational opportunity, spur irregular migration, but stricter border control merely increases hardship for migrants Forcible return to countries of origin often prompts additional attempts at migration. Detention and family separation are deeply traumatizing experiences that can affect a child’s long-term development and act as a trigger for present and future mental illness.  Numerous alternatives to detention exist, including community-based care, group homes and foster care, all of which have had positive results for families and unaccompanied minors. UNICEF urges United Nations Member States to adopt a 6-point “agenda for action” to safeguard the health and integrity of migrant and refugee children. This agenda includes action points addressing all aspects of the migration experience, including addressing the root causes of migration, action points focusing on detention, family separation, protecting children from all forms of violence, and, finally, action on reintegration and action to address discrimination and xenophobia for children and migrants who have been returned to their countries of origin. (Sam Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Unicef. (2018). Uprooted in Central America and Mexico: Migrant and refugee children face a vicious cycle of hardship and danger. Unicef Child Alert. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/UNICEF_Child_Alert_2018_Central_America_and_Mexico.pdf