12 May 2023 - Mexico

Thousands of children at risk of separation, abuse and neglect following the end of title 42

press release

Mexico City, May 12, 2023 - About 4,000 children could be at risk of separation, abuse and neglect with up to 15,000 people arriving at the Mexico-US border in the past few days following the termination of the US’s Title 42 policy. 

"The situation is critical, almost 4,000 girls and boys are sleeping on the streets and exposed to significant risks such as violence and abuse which could pose severe damage to their physical and mental health. Many children are also at risk of being separated from family members if those who accompany them are unable to access the United States safely and quickly. Families are desperate and many of them are risking their lives trying to cross the border through dangerous places like the desert or the Rio Grande River," said Maripina Menendez, Save the Children Mexico CEO.

Many children have travelled long distances from their home countries, fleeing violence or poverty to reach the US border crossing, but now they are experiencing fear and anxiety as they face an uncertain future.

Pedro*, an 8-year-old boy from Honduras, told Save the Children’s team:

"I don't understand what is happening. I just see people leaving and saying they're going to turn themselves in to immigration authorities in the US. I hope this is over soon.”

Meanwhile, many families cannot find a way to explain to their children that after a long journey, it will no longer be possible to reach the United States.

Susana, 29 years old, originally from Venezuela, said: "The process is very slow and unclear, I try not to say anything to my children, but they realize it and they see me very sad. They are sad to know that we have been here for a long time. It is unfair to make us look like criminals, we are only looking for protection for our children."

In Mexico, Save the Children's staff are working in 40 shelters in seven border cities providing migrant families with humanitarian aid and psychosocial care.

In the first three months of the year, Save the Children’s team assisted around 15,000 migrants who arrived in the country. The program will be reinforced and expanded in the coming weeks, in order to attend to this humanitarian emergency.

"This morning we saw that various migrants who crossed yesterday were returned to Mexican territory. We are concerned about the neglect of children. Parents are extremely stressed, many have decided to set up camps on the border line in the hope of being able to cross. In the streets the risk of separation and organized crime is high,” said Menéndez Carbajal, Save the Children Mexico CEO.

Save the Children in Mexico is calling on the Mexican government to strengthen internal programs and policies for the protection of children and adolescents.

“The Mexican government must strengthen the operational capacities of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid, to reinforce more than ever the coordination and operation of the National System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, as well as the Offices of the Attorney General for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, and create physical spaces and safe and protective environments for families who require social and legal assistance, psychosocial care and access to health services," Menéndez Carbajal, Save the Children Mexico CEO, concluded.


Save the Children has been working in Mexico since 1973 with programs for health and nutrition, education, protection and defense of the rights of children and adolescents. In 2022, we impacted in the lives of 394,585 persons in 18 states of the Republic.  

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