Mexico spends millions to send Central American children home

Mexico's immigration service has repatriated approximately 5,253 unaccompanied minors so far in 2014. Minors from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, for example, are being repatriated via air rather than by land. Thousands of immigrants, who are trying to reach the United States, travel by bus or on the tops of railcars on the infamous train known as 'The Beast.' Transportation by rail, for example, is hazardous since all migrants (especially children) are subject to intimidation, murder and rape at the hands of smugglers and narcoterrorists such as the infamous MS-13 criminal organization.
 
Local media reported that Elva Cardenas, the director of Child Protective Services of Mexico's Family Development agency, said on July 13 "Starting with the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto, children will travel by air, that is very important."
 
According to Mexico's immigration agency, approximately 10,505 non-Mexicans have been repatriated. Adults are taken by surface transportation as far as Tapachula, a city in Mexico's Chiapas State that borders Guatemala. Minors, who represent about half of those repatriated by Mexico, are sent home by air. During the first six months of 2014, Mexico has spent approximately 31 million 518 thousand pesos ($2.4 million) to repatriate children to their home countries, according to officials. 
 
The actual cost to the Mexican taxpayer is actually more, since minors of all ages must be accompanied by Mexican immigration officers to an airport in their homelands. Mexico's immigration service estimates that it costs at least 12,000 pesos ($963)  to repatriate each child.


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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