Study: Children a fast-growing migrant group

Study: Children a fast-growing migrant group
The fastest-growing group of unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border are under age 12, according to a recent study.

      In a comparison spanning 2012-14, the Pew Research Center found a 117 percent increase in unaccompanied children under age 12 caught at the U.S.-Mexican border. The number of unaccompanied teens caught at the border increased 12 percent during the same period.
      As of the end of June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection had apprehended more than 57,525 unaccompanied children, according to recently released numbers on the agency’s website. Approximately three-quarters are from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras and arrive after traveling for weeks through Mexico.
     Pew’s analysis, published July 22, provides a snapshot of the age and origin of child migrants, unaccompanied and accompanied, caught at the U.S.-Mexico border from Oct. 1, 2012, to May 31, 2014. Children are considered unaccompanied if they were not with a parent or guardian. "Unaccompanied" children may have been traveling with another relative.
     Here are some of the findings:

--Most are still teenagers: Even though an increasing number of unaccompanied minors are young children, 9 of 10 caught at the border during 2013 were teenagers.

--Some are quite young: During this fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2013-May 31, 2014), 94 cases, or 1 percent, of unaccompanied children taken into custody are under age 1, Pew reports, “and only about 2 percent (785) are 5 or younger.” 

--While we take note of the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border, there is also an increase in the number of accompanied children:  Indeed, “the number of apprehensions of children who are accompanied by a parent or guardian has increased at a far faster clip, nearly tripling (160 percent increase) in less than a year,” according to Pew. “In the partial fiscal year 2014 data provided, 22,069 accompanied children were apprehended, up from just 8,479 during all of the previous fiscal year.”

--Compared with other Central American countries, a larger share of unaccompanied children from the Honduras is under the age of 12: More than 1 in 4 (27 percent) of the apprehended Honduran children caught at the border in 2014 were under age 12, up from 20 percent the previous year, the report says. 

--There is also an increase in the number of children accompanied by a parent from Honduras: “Fiscal year 2014 data shows 12,074 accompanied Honduran children have been apprehended so far,” Pew reports, “a 434 percent increase over the previous year.”


     Child refugees: U.S. on wrong side of history

     Contact us