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Child Migrant or Refugee?

Nov 09, 2014 | Change for Children

The migration of unaccompanied children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is on the rise. The number of undocumented children—mostly teens, but some as young as five—apprehended crossing the Mexico-US border has more than doubled in the past two years.

Gang violence, caused mainly by drug trafficking, has forced families to choose between sending their sons and daughters on a dangerous journey to attempt to illegally enter the United States, or to keep them at home where simply stepping out of the house leaves them threatened by the activities of criminal gangs.

Given that many of the 60,000+ minors who have arrived at the US border so far this year (a dramatic increase from 4,059 in 2011), are being driven out of their countries to escape horrific conditions including rape, gang recruitment, and murder, the current immigration crisis could actually be considered a refugee crisis. Change for Children joins the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in calling for increased rights-protection for these Children on the Run.

“My grandmother wanted me to leave.
She told me: “If you don’t join, the gang
will shoot you. If you do join, the rival gang
will shoot you—or the cops will shoot you.
But if you leave, no one will shoot you.”

Kevin, Honduras, Age 17


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