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In particular, crime, gang threats, or violence appear to be the strongest determinants for children’s decision to emigrate.
When asked why they left their home, 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list one of those factors as a reason for their emigration.
In all 14 cases, news articles supported the high crime rates they described and included names of friends and family members they mentioned as victims.
For example, one girl said that her father and cousin had been killed five years apart and that three murders had taken place in her neighborhood in the past year.
If the child was determined to be without a parent or legal guardian, s/he had to be transferred to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) care within 72 hours.
Yet, even though 8,000 to 40,000 unaccompanied child migrants were apprehended annually between 20, only 4,800 to 8,300 entered ORR’s care each year.
While over half of Salvadoran children list more than one reason for migrating, nearly 100 list only this fear.
All three elements of her story had been reported in both La Prensa Grafica and El Diario de Hoy.
Another father told me that eight murders, two of which involved children, took place in his neighborhood and the one next to it. While I believed that gang violence was primarily an urban problem before arriving to El Salvador, I have found that this violence is widespread, with children from rural and urban areas of 11 of 14 of El Salvador’s departments most likely to list this as the primary cause of their emigration.
A 2011 report by the Appleseed Foundation documented that most Mexican child migrants did not receive TVPRA screening and thus could not transition to ORR care.
Instead, per an agreement between the Mexican and U. governments that Obama would like emulated among Central American countries, Mexican children were quickly deported.