Children bear the cost of the Migrant Protection Protocols


Edwin doesn’t know where to turn. His 7-year-old daughter Milagros has been sick for four straight days. She has a fever, diarrhea, and has been vomiting. From inside a little tent, she screams for her father, “Daddy, it hurts!”

Edwin and Milagros have been stranded in a makeshift refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico for the last three months because of a Trump policy called the “Migrant Protection Protocols.” Under this policy, asylum seekers like Edwin and Milagros, who fled violence in Honduras earlier this year, are sent back into Mexico to wait for their court hearings in the U.S.

“They just dump you here. There’s nowhere to go because you don’t know anything,” says Edwin. “It’s worse here in Matamoros [Mexico]. Who would I know? No one in all of Mexico.”

With nowhere to go in Mexico, many people like Edwin and Milagros are living in makeshift refugee camps. Living in squalid conditions with virtually no support from the U.S. or Mexican governments, children are particularly vulnerable. The only medical care available is provided sporadically by volunteers.

Edwin carries Milagros over to a few medical volunteers who try to help rehydrate Milagros and lower her fever. But with temperatures dropping in the winter month, their simple tent won’t be able to keep Milagros warm. And Edwin doesn’t know when medical volunteers will be back.

Milagros isn’t alone. Since the “Migrant Protection Protocols” were launched in early 2019, more than 16,000 children under 18 have been sent back to Mexico, including 4,300 children under five.

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Further Resources

To learn more about MPP, you can check out more of our coverage from the border: