14,237 Unaccompanied Minors Detained at the US-MX border, 2/13-2/20

22 Feb
Mexico's ICE

Mexico's ICE

Nearly 15,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the Mexico-US border annually, Fox News Latino, 2.13.12
_____Mexico’s version of ICE, the National Institute of Migration (INM) released an astounding figure early last week. In 2011, 14,237 minors travelled by themselves and were detained at the Southern border. That translates to about 40 children a day who are caught trying to cross into the US. This number does not include the children who are not detained when crossing the border, suggesting that the number of minors traveling by themselves is much higher. The 14,237 includes 11,520 minors from Mexico and another 2,717 minors from other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Panama, Spain, and Argentina. The report is not clear on whether these are minors without parents, crossing on their own, or minors who are trying to reunite with family in the US. The INM report also mentions that, within their agency, 386 officials work in the “Children’s Protection” unit where they screen for maltreatment, abuse, and trafficking. These children have been lured to the opportunities that may be available when they arrive in the US, despite the dangerous border conditions and the widespread discrimination.
_____The push and pull factors of immigration do not occur by chance: 11 million undocumented people in the United States is not a random statistic. In a recent Nation article David Bacon successfully at describes how US foreign policy has been a major contributor to the push of Mexicans out of Mexico.  NAFTA has eliminated many agricultural jobs, it hasn’t created enough manufacturing jobs, and both of these contribute to a 50% poverty rate in Mexico. In such a poor economic environment, it should be no wonder that there are so many trying to come to the US, including nearly 15,000 children who were detained at the border. If young people searching for better opportunities are able to make it to the border, we should not expel them from our country to an uncertain fate. Given that these minors may be orphans of have family in the US of Latin America, US’s first priority should be to ensure their safety, NOT their deportation. After all, US foreign policies are part of the reason they were pushed away from their homes in the first place.

In other news
March for Dignity a Success, Oakland Local, 2.18.12
Several hundred marchers stood in solidarity with workers who were laid-off from Pacific Steel Casting after an ICE audit. The resilient worker-organizers along with their allies marched through Berkeley on Friday, reminding the public that the immigrant persecution in this country is not limited to Arizona and Alabama.
Alabama’s Immigration Law Could Cost Billions Annually, Business Week, 2.14.12
An economic analysis of anti-immigrant laws in Utah, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana find that these laws are having a tremendous economic impact. In Alabama, the study estimates that the economy will shrink by 2.3 billion dollars and 70,000 jobs every year. The majority of the decline is attributed to goods and services that would have been used by immigrants who have fled the state to avoid the laws.
Arizona business leaders drive a new approach to unauthorized immigration, WSJ, 2.13.12
A republican legislator in the state described the new approach: “In Arizona, we’re no longer willing to throw illegal-immigration bills against the wall to see what sticks.” The push is backed by the business groups such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Farm Bureau, which indicates that the state’s nativist streak may concede to a desire for a healthy economy. State legislators Alabama is also re-considering repealing elements of it’s anti-immigrant law.
Immigrants are slowly returning back to Alabama despite repressive HB56, USA Today, 2.19.12
After the dust of HB56 has settled, immigrants who initially left the state in large numbers are starting to return. Jobs are difficult to find elsewhere, rumors of mass deportations proved to be untrue and many families just want to return to a place they consider home. Still wary of the changes in Alabama law, many immigrants remain vigilant.

One Response to “14,237 Unaccompanied Minors Detained at the US-MX border, 2/13-2/20”

  1. akg February 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I am glad to see discussion of the structural reasons that people must emigrate (NAFTA etc.) on here. Economic policies and health are intimately intertwined.

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