Migrant Shelter Sees Growing Number of Minors Heading North

Please visit The Americas Program page to read my recent article on the rising trend of minors migrating north through Mexico. Based on my volunteer work and reporting in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, I discuss why minors are forced north and what conditions they face along the way.

“On a recent day in March, Luis (name changed), a 17-year-old Guatemalan, arrived in the migrant shelter Hermanos en el Camino (Brothers and Sisters on the Road), in Ixtepec, Oaxaca. Standing just over 5 feet tall, he pulled his conductor hat low over his forehead and stared at the floor as he re-counted his story.

Luis is from a town in the department of Huehuetenango and hopes to make it to the United States to work and send money back home. ‘It’s too hard to make a living in Guatemala,’ he told me.

His family paid a coyote to bring him north. In Chiapas, the coyote abandoned him, making off with the hundreds of dollars his family had invested. He was left alone on the tracks and gang members robbed him of what money he had left. ‘It cost a lot to get here, and I want to get to the United States. But I don’t know how I’m going to get the money to keep going.'”

“While it is difficult to estimate how many unaccompanied minors cross in total, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has estimated that more than 60,000 could make the journey to the United States in 2014. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 95 percent of them come from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Read the article here.

Photos by Daniel J. Ojalvo.

En Español.

“En día reciente de marzo, Luis (su nombre ha sido cambiado), de 17 años guatemalteco, arribó al albergue para migrantes Hermanos en el Camino, en Ixtepec, Oaxaca. Con un poco más de 5 pies de altura, se jaló su sombrero hacia al frente viendo hacia el suelo y comenzó a volver a contar su historia.”

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