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  • The number of migrant children seeking refugee status has increased by 750 percent in last two years.

    The number of migrant children seeking refugee status has increased by 750 percent in last two years. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 April 2019

On an average 2,428 requests have been submitted monthly from January to March, which is 318 percent more than 2018 and 570 percent than in 2017. 

Between January and March 2019, 7,285 migrant children and adolescents i.e., 57 percent of all refugees, filed for refugee status with the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR). On an average 2,428 requests have been submitted monthly which is 318 percent more than 2018.

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1,300 Migrants, Mostly Cubans, Flee Mexican Migration Station

Around 583 requests per month were registered in 2018. The percentage of 2019 is higher by 572 percent than in 2017.

In total 12,716 refugee requests from all age groups were received in the first three months of 2019 while in 2018, it was 29,600.

Chiapas registered 4,762 requests followed by Mexico city (1,326), Tabasco (640), and Veracruz (557).

The children mainly came from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

According to data from the System for the Integral Protection of the Rights of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents (Sipinna), 98,400 children traveled alone; more than half are displaced.

"We have noticed the increase in the presence of minors in a considerable number. The Sipinna must be present at all times,” Edgar Corzo, the fifth visitor of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) said.

According to Corzo, minors must not step into migratory stations, which do not have the capacity to attend to them but must be sent to social assistance centers where they could receive psychological and health care.

"We are facing a series of prejudices and stigmas around people. It is very important to raise awareness of this problem. It is important to mention that for the children there must be a special care, because it is necessary to understand the situations due to which they leave their country -such as violence, poverty, and human rights violations- before criminalizing them with acts of xenophobia," said Tania Ramirez Hernandez, Deputy Director of Cultural Liaison and Education at Conapred.

Between 2012 and 2016, he said, the number of children presented to the National Institute of Migration (INM) increased. The latest data indicates that there are around 40,000 children in this situation; the majority of them is from six to 11 years old.

According to figures from the United States Border Patrol, in March 2019 the arrests of unaccompanied foreign children in its southern border increased by 66 percent, registering 35,898 arrests, compared to 21,641 last month.

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