March 4, 2021

Mexico presents protection model for migrant minors traveling alone

The Government of Mexico presented on Wednesday a protocol to protect migrant and refugee minors who are in the country unaccompanied, amid criticism for the harsh conditions of minors in migratory shelters.

In a press conference, the head of the National System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF), María del Rocío García Pérez, explained that the model consists of four stages that range from detention to family and social reintegration of infants.

The so-called "Alternative care model for migrant children and adolescents seeking asylum and refugees in Mexico" comes after the controversy raised in recent days following complaints by civil entities for the way to care for children in migratory centers.

The first step of this model is the identification of migrant minors – more than 33,000 in the first semester, alone or accompanied – which is carried out either by the DIF or by the National Migration Institute (INM).

Then the second stage begins, in which the child without company is taken to a short stay center.

"During this period, the Federal Attorney General's Office for the Protection of Children and Adolescents prepares a plan for the restoration of rights," said García Pérez.

And in parallel, the assistance center makes "an outline of an individualized life plan".

Once you have it, the third stage begins, in which temporary alternative care is provided to those who will stay longer in the country, the official said.

In this phase there are two modalities: either a host family or a specialized social assistance center.

The final phase is that of graduation, consisting of "family integration or accompaniment towards an independent life", which in most cases ends in a return to their countries of origin.

"It is here that we seek to help children and adolescents towards autonomy to facilitate their integration into society," said the public official.

The ultimate goal of this model to follow – which does not have a budget allocated or date of implementation – is "to ensure that the crossing of a border or territorial limit of any girl, boy or adolescent does not disrupt their rights."

"That in his horizon of life there is certainty, but also future," García Pérez added to end his speech.

This protocol to follow is one more response from Mexico to the difficult migration situation that the country is going through, a destination for thousands of migrants, mostly Central Americans, who since the end of 2018 seek to reach the United States fleeing their countries, involved in conditions of poverty and violence.

On June 7, the United States and Mexico reached an agreement – which avoided an imposition of tariffs and a more than likely trade war between the two countries – in which the Latin American country promised to reduce the flow of migration.

So far, almost 2 months after the measures began – more military at the borders, more migratory personnel and zero concessions in the face of the migration drama – the migratory flow that reaches the northern border has been reduced by 39%, according with recent figures from the Mexican Government.

However, in the midst of these actions, harsh criticisms have emerged from international organizations to the Government for the poor conditions that minors have in migratory stations.

On Tuesday, human rights organizations Save The Children and Sin Fronteras denounced that the stations were not suitable places for children.

They also made it clear that the detention of children would contravene the Mexican Constitution and international treaties.

The response of the Government has not taken and this Wednesday the Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Martha Delgado Peralta, said that the priority is to promote a "vanguardist" and protective foreign policy, aware of the changes that migration has experienced in recent years.

"Today, migration also takes place by many women, families and even a large number of unaccompanied minors," he said.

According to the official, "in the first half of 2019 there were about 33,000 children and adolescents in the immigration stations."

An amount that doubles that of 2018, when they entered "a little more than 14,000".

He also said that 25% of the children who enter are not accompanied.

This, in a country like Mexico, makes them an easy target for the business of trafficking of people who run criminal organizations.

. (tagsToTranslate) Mexico (t) presents (t) protection (t) minors (t) migrants

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