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Mexico to construct camps for minor migrant children

Mexico City, Mexico — President López Obrador says Mexico will construct 17 camps to help tend to the minor children found crossing the boarder, while reinforcing surveillance on the southern border. In his Wednesday morning address to the nation, he said the creation of the camps is part of an agreed plan between the government and regional authorities.

Given the dizzying growth of illegal child trafficking, Mexico will install 17 camps on its southern border for migrant minors, many of whom travel alone. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained that in December of 2020, they registered 4,993 migrant minors along the border. Three months later, during the month of March, those figures skyrocketed to 18,800.

“We have made the decision to reinforce actions on the southern border,” adding that the increase in the number of migrant minors in recent months is “very worrying.”

López Obrador said that the camps for migrant minors will be run by officials of the National System for the Integral Development of Families (DIF) who will work in coordination with local authorities.

The director of the National Institute of Migration (INM), Francisco Garduño, announced that his agency will cede some facilities to DIF to establish the camps.

The new care plan for migrant minors coincides with the recent requests that the United States has made to Mexico and the countries of the so-called Northern Triangle, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to help reduce the number of children who are entering US territory illegally.

Washington announced this month that it had reached agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to use thousands of security forces to contain the smuggling of migrants. In March, Mexican authorities announced the deployment of 8,715 military personnel on the country’s northern and southern borders with 30 checkpoints to attend to the massive flow of migrants.

The growing number of children, many of them unaccompanied who are arriving at the US border, has become a problem for the government of Joe Biden, who appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to attend the massive influx.

The Biden administration continues to quickly return most migrants to Mexico, but has announced that it will not do so with unaccompanied minors who are being transferred to shelters before reuniting with their families.

Central American families, encouraged by smugglers, increasingly migrate with young children in the hope that this will improve their chances of being allowed to remain in the United States while their case progresses.

The main source of migrants arriving at the southern border of the United States come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which have been hit by the economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, corruption, violence and more recently, by two devastating hurricanes. To address the causes of migration, the United States is studying economic development plans in those countries.