Washington, DC — KIND is deeply disturbed by the murder of two migrant boys from Honduras in Tijuana. NBC News has reported that they were on their way to the Benito Juarez sports complex, where thousands of immigrants have been waiting for over five weeks to make their claim at the U.S. port of entry for protection. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) visited Tijuana last week and saw dangerous and life-threatening conditions and no protection for children.
“These murders should never have happened,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The failure of the U.S. and Mexican governments to live up to their international and domestic obligation to coordinate protection for vulnerable people seeking asylum has now resulted in the deaths of children – the worst possible outcome. Last week KIND saw first-hand the grave danger that many in and outside the camps are facing, particularly unaccompanied children, who are prey to human traffickers and other adults who could harm them.
That thousands of people, including unaccompanied children and families with young children are being forced to wait in squalid and dangerous conditions with no protection at the United States’ backdoor is appalling and counter to decades of our country’s work in protecting the most vulnerable. The United States has laws designed to protect unaccompanied children from being turned back to danger, and yet they are being denied access. In addition, the Mexican government should cease stopping children from accessing Customs and Border officials and the U.S. protection system.
Many of these migrants are fleeing gang violence in their home countries and are allowed under U.S. law to make their case for asylum. They do not feel safe in Mexico and do not want to seek asylum there.
The United States needs immediately to restore capacity at the port of entry to allow asylum seekers to make their claims expeditiously and without delay – which U.S. Customs and Border Protection have the resources to do – and work with the Mexican government and the international community to create systems to provide for the health and safety of those at the border to ensure that the lives of children are never threatened again.
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990