Undocumented and Underage: The Crisis of Migrant Children

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Between October 2013 and May 2014, authorities at the US-Mexico border began detaining underage migrants at an alarming, never-before-seen rate. During this period, thousands of underage migrants ended up in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities along the border.

Capacity at CBP detention facilities was overwhelmed by the influx of migrants, who predominantly came from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. As overcrowding became more severe, conditions for the migrants worsened. Lacking proper installations and sufficient personnel at the facilities, Department of Homeland Security officials began to release underage migrants into the custody of family members in the US, and cited them to attend immigration hearings at a later date.

The situation is similar in Mexico. The flow of underage migrants in the border region has increased rapidly, and shelters for child migrants report that the Central American population they care for now outnumbers the population of Mexican children.

VICE News travelled to the border between Texas and Tamaulipas to speak to people who have been detained on both sides of the border. They told us about their reasons for crossing the border, how they were detained, what their stay was like inside the detention centers, their plans for the future, and their fears.

Now migrants have two options: return to their country, where they could be killed by gang-related violence, or attempt to enter the United States again, hoping that their luck will change, and they will achieve their American dream.

More on VICE News:

The Worst Job in New York: Immigrant America: bit.ly/1qO5BF6

Mexican Deportees and Outsourced Labor: bit.ly/1uQlc9I

Deported Veterans of America: bit.ly/1nyjVCL

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Mexican Deportees and Outsourced Labor

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Tijuana, Mexico, is a limbo for deportees from the United States. People keep showing up in the city while U.S. immigration policies get tougher. Between 2002 and 2012, deportations to Mexico more than doubled, from 122,058 to 306,870, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Many were deported for non-violent or relatively minor infractions.

In many cases, these deportees are returned to a country where they might have been born but know little about as adults. They might speak little or no Spanish, and are further seen as pariahs for sporting gang tattoos. Opportunities for work in Tijuana remain limited for such deportees, except in a sector that is enjoying a boom period in Mexico, telemarketing.

Call centers offer English-speaking deportees a chance to have a steady income in jobs-strapped Mexico. They also get to put their language skills to use. Telemarketers gain a geographically close work-force of English native-speakers, but at Mexican labor costs. VICE News traveled to Tijuana to meet a few of the thousands of deportees who were raised in the United States and are now forming new lives back in Mexico, thanks to their steady jobs at a U.S. call center.

Why Activists Don’t Trust Mexico’s New Antitrust Telecom Laws: http://bit.ly/1nykGMn

Watch “Deported Veterans of America” – http://bit.ly/1nyjVCL

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