UPDATED 9:42 AM PT – Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Undocumented minors have continued to overwhelm the U.S. southern border as migrants keep moving across Central America and Mexico.
According to a UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) report on Tuesday, the number of migrant children crossing through Mexico has surged in the last three months as overcrowding at shelters on both sides of the border reach new levels.
Regional Director Jean Gough recently finished a five day visit to migrant shelters along the U.S.-Mexico border. A representative for Gough said the official was heartbroken to see the suffering of so many young children inside these packed facilities. She explained the shelters were very full, which prevents them from providing appropriate space for those arriving with children.
Since the start of 2021 the number of migrant children reported in Mexico has increased from 380 to nearly 3,500.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) April 19, 2021
The representative also conveyed Gough’s warning that human-traffickers are taking advantage of families who are trying to flee, putting their lives at risk in order to make the dangerous journey.
While the United Nations has stepped in to help U.S. and Mexican authorities deal with the migrant crisis, officials said food and health resources are running scarce. Gough’s representative noted, “investment needs to be increased for coordination at the local level to be boosted and for all these shelters to be mapped.”
UNICEF hopes to acquire $23 million in funding in order to continue with humanitarian operations in Mexico.