The number of migrant children trying to succeed in the US from Mexico has increased ninefold since the beginning of 2021, UN children’s agency Unicef says.
The rise from 380 to just about 3,500 has overwhelmed the facilities at Mexico’s reception centers, it says.
The children are mainly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico itself. Half arrived without parents.
Nearly 300 children are added to their number a day, as they wait to cross into the US or are sent back.
In border towns like Reynosa, migrant families are establishing makeshift camps.
“We are deeply concerned that living conditions for migrant children and mothers in Mexico could soon deteriorate further,” said Jean Gough, Unicef’s regional director for Latin America and therefore the Caribbean.
Many families will find themselves attempting to send their children over the border unaccompanied or via people traffickers, within the hope that – once inside the US – President Joe Biden’s administration will reunite them with relations there, as per the report by Latin American correspondent Will Grant.
However, the Mexican government has recently sent troops to its southern border to crack down on migration north, and lots of more unaccompanied children and migrants’ families are likely to be detained within the coming weeks, our correspondent says.
Last week, President Biden reversed course hours after signing an order to stay the number of refugees admitted annually to the US at Trump-era levels.