This Migration Policy Institute event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, "Children on the Run," which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse in their communities and at home. The panel moderated by Kathleen Newland, Director of the Refugee Protection and Migrants, Migration, and Development Programs at MPI, also includes speakers Javier Sagredo, an advisor in the UN Development Programme's Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Leslie E. Vélez, UNHCR Senior Protection Officer. A troubling new trend has emerged among those seeking asylum: the number of children making the treacherous journey alone and unaccompanied from Mexico and the countries of Central America—particularly El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—has doubled each year since 2010. And the U.S. government estimates 60,000 children will reach U.S. soil this fiscal year in search of safe haven. This discussion surrounding the UNHCR study, which was based on interviews that a team of researchers did with more than 400 unaccompanied children, analyzes the reasons behind the growing migration of this vulnerable population and makes recommendations for a way forward.
The UNHCR report is available online here: unhcrwashington.org/sites/default/files/UAC_UNHCR_Children%20on%20the%20Run_Full%20Report.pdf