Child Migration In Guatemala

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Guatemalans began fleeing to the United States during the three and one-half-decade long Civil War (1960-1996), and today, child migration fueled by a desire to escape from violence is still very prevalent. Since 2012, child migration has been increasing, including a ninety percent increase between 2013 and 2014. Twenty-four percent of migrants are from Guatemala , a country that has one of the world’s top murder rates. Migration is very dangerous; many are injured, and gang-violence is common along the journey. In areas such as the Tierra Blanca, gangs kidnap people, demand money, and threaten death, and then pose as children’s relatives. The majority of children are able to stay in the United States due to showing that they merit asylum…show more content…
Children experience violence, through witnessing gang violence at school, violence at home, and public lynching. In a United Nations Refugee Agency study of four hundred unaccompanied minors, forty-eight percent experienced violence by crime-organized groups, twenty-two percent experienced abuse at home, and thirty nine percent were recruited into human smuggling. Violence, specifically gang violence, homicides, and sexual abuse, has increased within the past decade, and the homicide rate doubled between 2000 and 2006. As a result, it can be less dangerous to migrate to the United States than to stay in Guatemala. In an interview on National Public Radio, Jose Alberto Lima Barrera, a child migrant, says “it’s scarier here than making the dangerous trek through Mexico”. The issues in Guatemala are furthered by the lack of police response to these events. Dulce Melinda, a child migrant who left because of sexual abuse, describes her experience with the violence in an interview with José Díaz-Balart. When asked if rape is common, she answered: “actually, it’s really common in, because it happens a lot, a lot of times, but a lot of times the people don’t do nothing, or the police don’t do nothing over there, in Guatemala”. As a result of the regularity of these incidents, police and public response is often minimal, a result of the years of violence and injustice that…show more content…
The violent culture of Guatemala has left the omnipresent violence and societal issues unquestioned by many. Within the past decade, violence has become an alternate form of justice used to create social control. These acts are the result of a lack of faith in the justice system and government institutions, which have elements similar of those during the Civil War. The methods used combine traditional authority with Civil War-based methods of repression. Between 2000 and 2006, the number of homicides doubled, multiplying from 2,904 to 5,885, and increasing during the years in between. Since this violence is constant, individuals are less sensitive, and the magnitude of the issue has become clouded. Beatriz Manz, a historian, writes “individuals can readily get caught up in self-deluding mentalities used to justify violence,” even though they do not accept what fuels it. Injustice is very common, leading to the passive acceptance of public lynching and other violent acts that would ordinarily be considered morally incorrect and shock the conscience. As a result of the violence and government’s commitment of violence, citizens believe that they have to take up arms to survive, furthering the violence and preventing change. This lack of change has instilled a sense of defeat and mistrust amongst the population, which has led to
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