Geneva, Aug 23 (EFE).- More than 26,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America were arrested at the United States border in the first six months of 2016, said UNICEF on Tuesday.
The report also stated that another 16,000, also unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, never made it to the US as they were stopped at the Mexican border.
“They seek to get away from brutal gangs that target them or poverty and exclusion that deprive them of education and hope,” said the report, adding that many also hoped to be reunited with their families.
Many of these children risked kidnappings, human trafficking, rape and murder in order to enter the US, only to be arrested upon arrival said UNICEF.
According to the report, women and children can spend months in detention, and unaccompanied minors can even spend years detained while their cases are studied.
UNICEF spokesman Christoph Boulierac said in a press conference that 40 percent of detainees do not have a lawyer and the system does not provide them with one.
The report stated that 40 percent of those who do not have a lawyer are deported, compared to 3 percent for those who do.
Boulierac also denounced that unaccompanied minors are treated differently depending on their nationality, as Mexicans are often deported immediately while other have the right to a court hearing.