WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
8 Aug 2014 | Commentary

WOLA’s Resources and Analysis on Central American Migrant Children


In the last eight months, more than 42,000 Central American children have been detained while crossing into the United States without their parents—mostly from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. There is a growing humanitarian situation as overwhelmed migrant shelters and detention centers attempt to meet the needs of these young people. The United States is not alone. Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize have documented a 712 percent increase in asylum applications as people flee the violence in their home countries.

Since 2003, levels of violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have been on the rise. Honduras now has the highest murder rate in the world. Domestic violence and child abuse are widespread, and children as young as five are targets for gang recruitment. In the last eight months, one out of every 240 children and youth (under age 18) has fled from El Salvador.

For decades, WOLA has researched and reported on the conditions of crime, violence, and lack of economic opportunity as push factors driving migration. Below is a list of WOLA resources and analysis on the issues of unaccompanied minors, border security and migration, and citizen security.

The Latest from WOLA:

WOLA’s Work on the Central American Children:

Please click here for additional resources on unaccompanied minors, border security & migration, police reform, violence prevention, and economic development in Central America.

WOLA’s Central America Advocacy Fund:

Until children feel safe and secure at home, we will continue to see large numbers of children seeking refuge at our border. Help WOLA advocate for violence prevention programs in Central America. Click here to learn more about what you can do to help.

Links to Service Providers:

To complement WOLA’s targeted advocacy on this issue, we have compiled a list of organizations providing social services and legal aid to these children. To learn more, please click here.

Additional Media:

In a video interview with WSJ Live, WOLA’s Senior Associate for Regional Security Policy, Adam Isacson, discusses why deploying the National Guard to deal with the children at the border is a bad idea. To watch, click the image below.