Between October 2013 and May 2014, authorities at the US-Mexico border began detaining underage migrants at an alarming, never-before-seen rate. During this period, thousands of underage migrants ended up in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities along the border.Capacity at CBP detention facilities was overwhelmed by the influx of migrants, who predominantly came from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
As overcrowding became more severe, conditions for the migrants worsened. Lacking proper installations and sufficient personnel at the facilities, Department of Homeland Security officials began to release underage migrants into the custody of family members in the US, and cited them to attend immigration hearings at a later date.The situation is similar in Mexico. The flow of underage migrants in the border region has increased rapidly, and shelters for child migrants report that the Central American population they care for now outnumbers the population of Mexican children.
VICE News travelled to the border between Texas and Tamaulipas to speak to people who have been detained on both sides of the border. They told us about their reasons for crossing the border, how they were detained, what their stay was like inside the detention centers, their plans for the future, and their fears. Now migrants have two options: return to their country, where they could be killed by gang-related violence, or attempt to enter the United States again, hoping that their luck will change, and they will achieve their American dream.