In special coverage of the southern border of the United States, El American corroborated the seriousness of the border crisis with the number of unaccompanied child migrants who set foot on U.S. soil without knowing where they are going, where their families are, and what will happen to them.
Anthony Cabassa, correspondent for El American, arrived at La Joya in Texas and was able to talk to dozens of migrants who were part of a group of more than 200 people El American counted in four hours. Most of them came from Guatemala and the rest from El Salvador, Honduras, and Venezuela.
Of the large number of migrants Cabassa was able to observe, approximately 50 were unaccompanied child migrants: “Michael, 8 years old, comes from Honduras, he says he doesn’t know where his family is, he says he has an uncle, but he doesn’t know where he is,” he said in his report for El American.
“This is an extremely dangerous journey, especially for minors, but when there is a 100% chance that unaccompanied minors will be ‘accepted’ in the USA and not turned away, this is the end result. Thousands risk their lives in the hope of staying in the country,” the journalist pointed out.
Cabassa explained that there are reports that once in the hands of the authorities, the children spend more than 60 days in detention under strict surveillance due to suicidal threats. There are also allegations that they are given raw or poorly prepared food.
Approximately 14,500 unaccompanied children are under the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Human rights violations of unaccompanied child migrants reported
A report by El Mundo reinforces the serious conditions found by Cabassa in Texas. According to reports, detained migrant children have described overcrowded conditions, spoiled food, lack of clean clothes, and disorders such as depression.
A BBC investigation revealed through interviews with staff and children held at the Fort Bliss military base camp in El Paso, Texas, testimonies of allegations of sexual abuse, outbreaks of COVID, hunger, and children having to wait for hours to be seen by a doctor when they fall ill.