Hope for the Northern triangle's lost generation : battling detention of unaccompanied children at the Southern border of México

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Nomdedeu Díaz-Valero, Andrea
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Since former President Barack Obama declared a humanitarian crisis in 2014, a time when up to 50,000 unaccompanied children crossed into the United States, cooperation between the US and Mexico to control the tide of migrants crossing the Guatemalan-Mexican border led to the adoption of the South Border Program. Despite its proclaimed aim to protect people crossing the south border of Mexico, the main result has been an increase in detentions and deportations of migrants and asylum seekers entering the country. In this regard, steps have been taken by Mexico to presumably protect unaccompanied children, thus, new legislation protecting children, has been adopted and new protection figures, based on the principle of best interests of the child, have been set down in law. Nevertheless, violations to the rights of the children have been continuously reported by civil society and international organisations. The use of tricky legal terms, a lack of harmonisation of the law and a so-called alternative to detention programmes have been the tools used to avoid its responsibility. This study aims to explore how Mexico can render accountability for the breaches committed to its own legislation. It will be demonstrated how a proper alternative to detention program can be beneficial for the state, host communities and children. For this purpose, an analysis of primary and secondary sources, reports, policies and practice, as well as a trip to the field for fact-findings, will be the tools used to answer the question regarding the accountability of Mexico concerning the breaches of international and national legislation when detaining unaccompanied children.
Second semester University: Panteion University, Athens
unaccompained migrant children, Mexico, detention, irregular migrations, accountability, Guatemala