Mexico’s Migratory Policy Regarding Unaccompanied Minors: Obstacles to Accessing Services and Protections (2018-19)
This report explores the dynamics surrounding Central American unaccompanied minors in Mexico and their access to the country’s protection system. Since 2009, the number of unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has increased significantly. Between 2009 and 2018, Mexican immigration officials apprehended approximately 80,000 unaccompanied minors, and hundreds of thousands more migrated through Mexico undetected.
This report focuses specifically on Mexico’s immigration system for unaccompanied minors who are apprehended, and these minors’ ability to access legally guaranteed protections. The report’s first chapter outlines the reasons that unaccompanied minors migrate from Central America. It covers the varied and intertwined factors behind Central American migration, examining how minors may face violence or a lack of economic opportunity in their home countries, or be looking to reunite with family members in Mexico or the United States. This report makes several recommendations to various Mexican agencies that participate in processing or caring for unaccompanied minors. These recommendations seek to improve unaccompanied minors’ access to protections in Mexico through greater efficiency measures or larger changes, including restructuring agencies. They aim to ensure that unaccompanied minors receive in practice the specific protections that are afforded to them under Mexican law.