News You Really Need To See: “Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to U.S. Border”

“Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to U.S. Border”

The New York Times, July 10, 2014, p.A1

“[The two brothers, ages 7 and 13] were among seven children murdered in the La Pradera neighborhood of San Pedro Sula in April alone, part of a surge in gang violence that is claiming younger and younger victims.  The killings are a major factor driving the recent wave of migration of Central American children to the United States, which has sent an unprecedented number of unaccompanied minors across the Texas border.  Many children and parents say the rush of new migrants stems from a belief that United States immigration policy offers preferential treatment to minors, but in addition, studies of Border Patrol statistics show a strong correlation between cities like San Pedro Sula with high homicide rates and swarms of youngsters taking off for the United States.  ‘The first thing we can think of is to send our children to the United States,’ said a mother of two in La Pradera, who declined to give her name because she feared gang reprisals. … More than half of the top 50 Central American cities from which children are leaving for the United States are in Honduras. Virtually none of the children have come from Nicaragua, a bordering country that has staggering poverty, but not a pervasive gang culture or a record-breaking murder rate. … Last week, in nearby Santa Barbara, [Honduras,] an 11-year-old had his throat slit by other children, because he did not pay a 50-cent extortion fee.  ‘At first we saw a lot of kids who were being killed because when the gang came for their parents, they happened to be in the car or at the location with them,’ said Dr. Darwin Armas Cruz, a medical examiner who works the overnight shift.  ‘Now we see kids killing kids.’ … Dr. Armas said his family was thinking of migrating, too.”

Quickie Analysis:  Emergency funding to send the kids back as quickly as possible doesn’t seem like a well-considered “solution” to the problem, from either a human rights angle or a border security angle.

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