By Victor Martinez; Edited by Katie Hackett
The topic of illegal immigration is often in our news cycles, and even more so in recent months. Migration between countries in Central American is an issue, and when Mexico pushed for stronger border enforcement last year, the number of unaccompanied children being deported or sent back increased by over 50 per cent.
Most of these children are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
In El Salvador, World Vision has been working with government agencies to improve the way that these children are cared for after attempts to cross the border.
“Working closely with the authorities has allowed us to identify that the reception and monitoring protocols are not as effective as they should be,” says Marla Martinez, Advocacy Director for World Vision in El Salvador.
In response, World Vision is working to develop a technology tool that will ensure children are returned safely to their homes. This includes a database to register Central American children who have been returned after migrating to the United States and Mexico.
“This tool will help us to work with other organizations,” Marla continues. “We need to make sure children are not forced to leave the country again. It is important to [guarantee] the well-being and protection of each child.”
The platform will track information about the children, their parents, their community and special risks to consider. Once implemented, it will help the government and organizations like World Vision to provide opportunities, ensuring children are returned to school, have access to health services and recreation activities.
Right now there are no technologies that help follow up with unaccompanied children after they are returned, and if all goes well this one may be replicated by other countries facing migration issues in the region.
*Name has been changed for child protection reasons