central american children | Texas Public Radio

central american children

Anna Surinyach | MSF

The situation on the border isn’t getting any better. The flow of asylum seekers from a destabilized Central America is running into a politically charged federal government response that is not focused humanitarian aid.


Central American women and children seeking asylum in the U.S. often encounter a whole other level of trauma along their voyage. A new study documents the experiences previously detained women faced and the professionals who work with them.

Then, a recent UTSA graduate shares his path of pursuing a bachelor's degree after his mother was unexpectedly deported.


Ivan Pierre Aguirre / Texas Tribune

A temporary migrant facility opened in West Texas in June with the intention of housing up to 300 Central American teens. Six months later, the facility has grown to a capacity of over 2,700, and operations behind its tarped fences remain a mystery.

Joshua Rubin has been documenting what occurs in the Tornillo tent city for the past three months and joins us to discuss what he has seen.


Federal immigration agents have initiated a controversial roundup of Central American families who were part of the border surge that began in 2014.

They are mainly young mothers with children whose asylum claims have been rejected. The Homeland Security Department says 121 have been picked up out of more than 100,000 immigrants who crossed the border illegally.

At a shelter home in East Austin, the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, have terrified immigrants here who lost their cases and await deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement last weekend began a targeted deportation of Central Americans who are in the country illegally. That includes families in Texas.

Thousands of Central American women and children fleeing violence have been released from family detention centers in the last 18 months. But there aren't enough community and legal services to help them make their cases for asylum. 

That’s according to Johnathan Ryan, executive director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, RAICES.

Surge Of Undocumented Minors Closer To Home

Dec 27, 2015

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Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

SAN ANTONIO — About 250 immigrant children were given an adult dose of a hepatitis A vaccine at a Texas detention facility where they were being held with their mothers, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The vaccines were administered this week, but none of the children has been hospitalized or had any adverse reactions, ICE officials said Saturday.

ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said health care professionals would monitor the children over the next five days for any potential side effects, though none are expected.

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

The migration of minor children from Central America into the United States is one of the most painful problems facing us, as a community, said a leading advisor to Pope Francis, who is supposed to visit the U.S. Capitol in September and is expected to talk to lawmakers about a number of issues. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of the Honduras visited San Antonio this week and talked about what Central American children were going through.

The influx of minor children from the Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala is a migration issue the cardinal holds close to heart. He is Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the capital of the Honduras.

Cardinal Maradiaga said he believed drug lords organized the migration to divert attention from their activities. “I am convinced this was organized by the drug lords. They were paying coyotes in order to move so many children at once, in order to attract [attention] to this problem and to leave other places free for their traffic.”

Ryan E. Poppe

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott met with the Honduran president last week in his first visit with a Central American leader since he took office and promised to stanch the flow of immigrants coming across the border.

It was a break from friction Abbott is confronting closer to home in the Capitol.

With six weeks left in a legislative session that began with Abbott giving largely non-contentious marching orders like ethics reforms and tax cuts — and leaving hot-button issues like gay rights and abortion aside — a standoff between the GOP in the House and Senate has put some of his agenda in gridlock.

Richard Morgan / Fronteras

PHOENIX — There won’t be nearly as many immigrant children who cross the border on their own this summer as there were last year, top officials say.

Daniel Ragsdale, deputy director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said authorities expect far fewer migrant children and families than the influx last year that gained worldwide attention and left Border Patrol agents unable to process so many people. “I’m happy to say all the work we’ve done last year is bearing fruit,” Ragsdale said.

Ronald D. Vitiello, the Border Patrol’s deputy chief, agreed. “This year is far better off than last year,” he said.

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