Between 2011 and 2013, the number of children entering the US from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize has increased by 136%. These children leave their homes due to organized violence, abuse at homes, and poverty, among other things. Monetary and military support implicate the US in the corrupt government power over land, citizenship, political structures, and social mobility in these countries, which create the conditions that force children to find refuge. In the year 2013, 41,890 children were detained.
Children between the ages of 12-17 are housed in detention centers along the US-Mexico border. Lack of legal representation and advocacy has resulted in human rights violations by US Border Patrol agents. Most media outlets have ignored the humanitarian crisis, portraying these children refugees as entering the US illegally and ignoring their needs. By focusing on the financial demand of supporting these children, anti-immigration conservatives advocate for militarization and increased policing of the border to prevent unaccompanied minors from entering.
In response to lacking structural support from the US Federal Government, human rights groups, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, have provided legal representation and support for undocumented refugee children crossing the border.