This summer an unprecedented amount of unaccompanied Central American
minors arrived at the southwest US border, surrendering themselves to border
patrol agents and posing a challenge to policy makers and law enforcement to find
an appropriate place and process for them.
In just the 2014 fiscal year, 57,000 children arrived at the US’s southwest
border. So many, in fact, that between May and June temporary shelters were
opened in 3 military bases to compensate for the lack of space in regular shelters.
These children are now in regular shelters or with sponsors who will house them
during the duration of their legal proceedings. Some children are believed to have
arrived in hopes of reuniting with family already living in the US.
These unaccompanied minors, for the most part, come from Guatemala,
Honduras and El Salvador, and there are reasons in common spurring them
toward neighboring countries. Since 2011, the number of unaccompanied minors
from this region has been increasing, due to dangerous climate in their home
countries: violent crime, chronically low economic growth, high rates of poverty,
and transnational gangs. Some believe that their journey to the US was inspired by
possible protection by the government, or by initiatives like DACA.
A possible long-term solution would be to provide aid to create safer
conditions in Central America, while in the short-term evaluating the resources and
care available to these children.