It goes without saying that the saddest element in the current enforcement of immigration laws is the apprehension, deportation or abandonment of children.
Stories surface every day of parents who were apprehended and fearing the same for their children, say nothing about their children at home. They hope a relative or neighbor will eventually realize their children are alone and will take care of them until they can be reunited.
According to a new report released this week in Mexico City by the Population, Border and Migrant Affairs Commission, for every three adults deported from the United States there is one child abandoned and left behind.
But what is even more shocking and deserves further scrutiny from Congress and the American people is the documentation in the report that cites how in the first 7 months of the year the United States has deported 90,000 children to Mexico—children without their parents and who are alone.
The U.S. government has elected to disregard the safety and welfare of these children in the name of immigration enforcement.
The Mexican report revealed that 15 percent or 13,500 of these children, of all ages under 17, find themselves “parked” at the border. With no family and no way to take care of themselves. Some are either taken in by social service and religious agencies or are forced to live on the streets begging and trying with all their might to get back into the United States, or worse, are victimized by human traffickers who sexually exploit them.
The report further revealed that these child deportations are having a huge impact on those sectors of the country experiencing high migration and the Mexican government reveals it’s ill-equipped to keep up with the growing number of children dumped by the U.S. government.
The report’s authors are calling on the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. government to honor children’s rights and to repatriate the children versus deporting them. With repatriation, the children are not left abandoned but are returned into the custody of those responsible to take care of them.
Deportations merely drop them off without ensuring their safety.
While this report highlights the shortfalls of the Mexican government in providing substantial care for these children upon their arrival, at the same time it does not exonerate the actions of the U.S. government.
For that reason, child deportations should be halted until a full and consistent repatriation program can be implemented where children are delivered to family members or reunited with family in the United States.