México City - México’s National Migration Institute (INM) reports a 131 per cent increase in the first half of 2019 in the number of migrant children and adolescents in the country, compared with the same period last year.
During the first six months of 2019, Mexican migration authorities recorded 33,000 minors among all new arrivals, with 26 per cent of that population (8,500 boys and girls) arriving unaccompanied by an adult. These numbers do not include 21,900 adolescents returned to their country of origin with the assistance of the Mexican government during this same period.
In response, IOM has embarked on a series of regional meetings with professionals working in the child and adolescent protection systems of México’s border states. These workshops allow local governments to increase their capacity for a comprehensive and timely response to the concerns of migrant children.
IOM held meetings with officials from southern border states (Cancun and Quintana Roo) on 29-30 August. An event with the northern border representatives (Tijuana and Baja California) took place on 3-4 August.
During each of these encounters, analysis was shared on the conditions, characteristics and dynamics of the migratory flows crossing México. The meetings also fostered discussions on implementing the Comprehensive Care Route for the Rights of Migrant Children and Adolescents. That instrument – designed by México’s federal government, with support from IOM, UNICEF and UNHCR – defines specific institutional responsibilities, as well as weaknesses detected in existing government instruments.
“The migration of children and adolescents is a priority issue in migration governance worldwide and in the Americas,” said Alexandra Bonnie, coordinator of the IOM Mesoamerica – Caribbean programme. “This is due to the relevance of the phenomenon, the complexity of its causes and consequences, the differentiated needs for assistance and protection, and the need for a comprehensive approach to effectively protect the human rights of the people who make up this population.”
These activities are part of the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica – Caribbean, which is funded by the United States Department of State. At the regional level, within the framework of the Regional Conference on Migration, the said programme has allowed the design and implementation of the Regional Guidelines for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents in the Context of Migration.
"What I have learned most is sensibility... It’s not the same to feel an ache when you left everything behind, more than to feel it when you are at home," said Gloria Elena Garza, Undersecretary of Legality and Government Services of Tamaulipas, about the situation of unaccompanied migrant children in México.
_For more information, please contact Tatiana Chacón at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: 506 22125328, Email email@example.com