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Story Publication logo May 21, 2019

Paradox on the Border: Law Enforcement May Be Attracting More Migrants (Spanish)

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Border fence between United States and Mexico in Nogales, Arizona. Image by Shutterstock. United States, 2017.
English

Thousands of Central American parents continue to arrive at the southern border with their children...

A Honduran migrant observes the displacement of the US military on the other side of the border wall. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Tijuana, 2018.
A Honduran migrant observes the displacement of the US military on the other side of the border wall. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Tijuana, 2018.

From December 21 to April 8, immigration officials have released 24,000 parents and their children in Arizona, mostly from Central America. Along the border, the figures reach almost 133,500. "It is a huge wave that is weighing heavily on our immigration system and we can not allow that to happen," Trump said during his visit to Calexico, California, on April 5. "The system is full," he added. "We cannot accept you anymore. Be asylum, or whatever you want, be illegal immigration. We cannot accept you anymore. We cannot ... So turn around." But to address what Trump calls a national emergency, experts from both sides of the border say it is necessary to understand the reasons why migrants are coming and who is arriving. "It's not just the conditions in Central America that are pushing people to leave," explained Elizabeth Oglesby, associate professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. "It is also the application of migration policies that cause migration to be reproduced in particular ways."

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Every day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials release an average of 300 parents and their children in Arizona, calculates Henry Lucero, director of the ICE office, for its acronym in English; and 90% are from Guatemala. This is not counting the families that recently began to directly release the Border Patrol in Yuma. A year ago, an average of 100 people were released a day, said Lucero. "Most say they have been advised that if they come with a minor ... they will only be detained for a few days by the Border Patrol and ICE, and that they will be released to continue to their final destination." They usually have friends or relatives who have confirmed them, he added. During the last six months, Lucero has also begun to notice a new trend of parents traveling with many children, not just one as before.

Hundreds of Hondurans move towards the border wall, coasting the wagons of the trains parked near the vehicle port of Chaparral. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Tijuana, 2018.
Hundreds of Hondurans move towards the border wall, coasting the wagons of the trains parked near the vehicle port of Chaparral. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Tijuana, 2018.

Read the full story in Spanish.

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