Here’s Why Migrant Women And Children Are Flooding To The Mexico-US Border – Business Insider
Article below by Alberto Arce, AP
The number of unaccompanied minors detained on the U.S. border has more than tripled since 2011. Children are also widely believed to be crossing with their parents in rising numbers, although the Obama administration has not released year-by-year figures. The crisis has sparked weeks of bitter political debate inside the U.S., with the administration saying crime is driving migrants north from Central America and congressional Republicans saying Obama’s policies is leading migrants to believe children and their mothers will be allowed to stay.
A vast majority said they were fleeing gang violence that has reached epidemic levels in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in recent years. The migrants also uniformly said they decided to head north because they had heard that a change in U.S. law requires the Border Patrol to swiftly release children and their mothers and let them stay in the United States.
The belief that women and children can safely surrender to authorities the moment they set foot in the U.S. has changed the calculus of tens of thousands of parents who no longer worry about their children finishing the dangerous trip north through Mexico with a potentially deadly multiday hike through the desert Southwest.
“The United States is giving us a great opportunity because now, with this new law, we don’t have to try to cross the desert where so many people die. We can hand ourselves over directly to the authorities,” Gladys said, adding that she hopes to become a doctor.
The smiling teenager with long black hair said she was more excited about seeing her mother again than she was scared about the trip. Her mother said she was aware of the dangers but finally decided the risk was worth it after five years apart.
Reached by phone at home, the mother said she decided to send for her daughter because “if she gets across she can stay here, that’s what you hear.”
“Now they say that all children need to do is hand themselves over to the Border Patrol,” said the mother, who declined to provide her name because she is in the U.S. illegally.