MEXICO CITY — As the Trump administration threatens to expel nearly a million undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, Mexico is seeing a spike in arrivals of children fleeing violence in Central America.
Over the past four years, the number of unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador seeking asylum in the country surged by 350%, the Mexico City daily El Universal reports.
Many of those children seek to migrate further north to the United States, a journey made more perilous by Washington's anti-immigration crackdown. One of them is Eduardo, who decided to flee San Pedro Sula in Honduras three months ago, when street gangs in the neighborhood he worked threatened to kill him and his family. He still has his sights set on crossing the U.S. border but will stay in Mexico if he has to. Either way, he has no intention of going back home.
"If I returned they would sink their claws into me," Eduardo told El Universal, referring to the gangs, known locally as maras or pandillas.
Since 2013, 90% of the people offered asylum in Mexico hail from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — Central America's so-called "Northern Triangle" — where rampant gang activity and heavy-handed police repression have sent homicide rates soaring. COMAR, the agency that processes such requests, received over 6,000 applications in the first half of this year, more than the total for 2016.
Fearing the possibility of deportation from the United States, more child migrants, it appears, are choosing to end their journey here.