The plight of the Central American migrants is a traumatic story that is not given the due attention by the competent authorities, neither to help them nor to mitigate this deplorable situation. Most of the migrants mention that they were forced to leave their home country due to diverse circumstances like a direct threat to their lives from the gang members, domestic violence, extreme poverty or to reunify with other members of the family who have managed to emigrate to the U.S. Leaving their country is quite often the last resort. They have to face innumerable situations of danger and threats in their hazardous journey towards the U.S. It is a sad reality that the members of the family staying back live in constant desperation, because they never know, whether their loved ones made it to the other side and not knowing about their whereabouts for many years. Added to this fact, we should remember that the Central America is the favorite route for the illegal migrants to get to the U.S and the people smugglers known as “Coyotes” take great advantage of this situation. Once the “Coyotes” manage to get them to the Mexican border, they are abandoned to their plight. Many fall victims to gang members operating there or are kidnapped, abused, raped and subjected to extortion.
Mexico has been accused, on various occasions, of not doing anything to improve the plight of Central American migrants travelling through the country en route to the United States. Many take recourse to the cargo trains known as “La Bestia” (The Beast), to get to the U.S boarder. As there are no passenger railcars, migrants must ride atop the moving trains, facing physical dangers that range from losing limbs to death, if they fall or are pushed off. Beyond the dangers of the trains themselves, Central American migrants are subjected to extortion and violence at the hands of the gangs and organized-crime groups that control the routes to the north.
Naturally, we would ask, what is the response of the government and other actors, with regard to this ever growing problem. Well, not much has been done. Mexico has taken some actions by preventing migrants from using freight trains known as “la Bestia”. The immigration agencies are trying to prevent migrants from reaching the border with the U.S. Efforts are made in various Central American countries to bring down the homicide rates and control the gang-related violence. Nevertheless, it is evident that these efforts are not enough to address the problem. I shall not go into the details of the efforts, the US government is making, in squiring up to the problem of Unaccompanied Child migrants. You can get more information from the Migration Policy Institute’s report. However, one thing is clear, unless the Central American governments do not focus their attention on preventive methods to address the causes that give rise to the phenomenon of Unaccompanied Child migrants, namely, gang related violence, domestic abuses and violence, and the dehumanizing situation of poverty, these children would continue to flee from their home countries.
Fr. Jose Cyriac Melukunnel, SVD
CCP Research Assistant
 The story of Adrian, a 17 year old boy from Guatemala narrated by Ian Gordon depicts the plight of many of the
Central American children. To read more, follow the link: Mother Jones
 Central American Migrants and “La Bestia”: The Route, Dangers, and Government Responses: