Child Migrants: The View From Guatemala

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Guatemalan migrant Gladys Chinoy, 14, right, waits with more than 500 other migrants, many traveling with small children, beside the stuck freight train on which they were traveling, outside Reforma de Pineda, Chiapas state, Mexico, June 20, 2014. Reached by phone in New York City, Gladys' mother said she was aware of the dangers but had finally decided they were worth it after five years apart. The mother said, "if she gets across, she can stay here, that's what you hear."(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson yesterday toured the warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, where some of the 52,000 unaccompanied children who’ve illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year are being held.

Republicans blame Obama administration policies for the recent wave of child immigrants. The White House blames gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The picture from Guatemala is more nuanced. Mike McDonald, who writes for Reuters from Guatemala City, says the Guatemalan government is trying to inform people that U.S. policy towards new immigrants hasn’t changed, and immigrants fed up with gang extortion are being duped by coyotes who smuggle them across the border.

McDonald discusses the view from Guatamala with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.


  • Mike McDonald, writes for Reuters from Guatemala City. He tweets @mdmcdonald.
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