Immigration Crisis at US-Mexico Border

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We are still learning new details about the immigration crisis taking place in Texas and Arizona. There are currently around 1,000 unattended children ranging in ages from 1 year old to 17 being held in a storage facility in Nogales, AZ. Border patrol is expecting that number to surge to 1500 by this weekend. The city of Nogales has rushed in emergency supplies such as cots, portable toilets and showers. The kids are being given medical care by about 11-12 doctors according to mayor of Nogales, Arturo Garino.

News report from US Border Patrol Station in Nogales, AZ – June 9, 2014:

Approximately 48,000 unattended children have been detained at the US border between Mexico and Texas since the beginning of 2014. To give some perspective on that statistic – the 2012 population of Roswell, NM was 48,000 and the seating capacity of Yankee Stadium is 50,000. The 1,000 children currently being detained in Nogales are fleeing from extreme violence and poverty in their native countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

US border patrol is expecting to transfer them to various military bases after they are processed through the facility in Nogales. We are not sure where the 48,000 other children that have crossed the US – Mexico border since January 2014 are located right now. Our sources in Mexico report that often times border crossers are dumped into Mexico where it is common for them to be recruited into working for drug cartels, despite many of them being young children.

According to the Huffington Post, officials in Central America have noticed a surge in women and children crossing the US – Mexico border. Father Heyman Vazquez, director of a migrant shelter in Chiapas reports:

I remember a little boy of 9 years old and asked if he was going to meet someone and he told me, “No, I’m just going to hand myself over because I hear they help kids.”

The 1,000 children in Nogales were transferred from Rio Grande Valley, TX where they reportedly crossed the border coming from the state of Tamaulipas, MX, an area plagued by extreme and recently escalating violence between battling drug cartels. Sources in Mexico report that Tamaulipas is a popular area to cross the border illegally because it is cheap. This area is allegedly not well guarded by border patrol so the cost per day for a coyote to guide in a border crossing is around $154 per person, where in other areas with high border security the costs can be up to $5000 per day.

All border crossings are extremely dangerous, and not from threat of being apprehended by US border patrol. The number of people crossing daily is unknown and the incidents of abuse and rape of border crossers by their coyotes is severely under-reported.

An incident was reported in March 2014 of an 8 year old girl (country of origin unknown) who was found in Chihuahua, Mexico when Mexican authorities arrested her coyote for human trafficking. The coyote had promised her grandmother that he would deliver the child to her parents in New York. After the arrest, the 8 year old girl was them moved to a shelter in La Esperanza where she told shelter employees that the coyote had raped her. She was later found dead by suicide in the shelter, having hanged herself by a shower curtain.

A 2007 report from Mexico City detailed extreme human rights violations that occur while immigrants are en route to the US. Estimates then indicated that 1/3 of the migrants crossing the border each month were women, most between the ages of 16-25 and some of them pregnant. The most severe violations documented in 2007 happened in Mexico before they reached the US – where border crossers became victims of rape, abuse, kidnapping, theft and accidents. It is a crime to be an undocumented foreigner in Mexico. Crimes committed against border crossers are usually not reported since the victims fear prosecution and perpetrators are free to abuse them with impunity.

Sources:
Cimac Noticias
El Siglo de Torreon
World Socialist
Huffington Post
National Council of La Raza

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About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.