COSTA RICA NEWS – More than one minor, travelling alone, is found by Costa Rican officials to cross the Costa Rica – Nicaragua border. Some cross at Los Chiles, others by boat on the San Juan river.
The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI) – Costa Rica’s child welfare agency – confirmed that in the last year and a half, it has found and turned back some 30 minors; 19 least year and 12 so far this year,
Poverty, lack of opportunities to study and violence push these children into the unknown. The massive phenomenon of migrant children occurring in the United States, is replicated on a smaller scale between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
According to PANI officials, these are children nine years of age and upwards. Children without their parents by their sides, sticking to groups of families who weekly mock immigration controls between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Once on Costa Rican soil, the challenge for the minors is to hide from the police, seeking refuge, work and a life of opportunities they could not find in their home country.
Juan Luis Quirós Cascante, a conciliator judge in the community of Boca San Carlos, told La Nacion the situation is “worrisome”. “You see them get off boats in groups of 30 or 40 people. At first they seem to be part of the group, but after you see how two or three of them start falling behind, they are arriving alone,” said Cascante.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the last year they detected 57.000 Central American children alone crossing the border between Mexico and the United States.
In Costa Rica, the director of Migración (immigration), Kattia Rodríguez, says the situation is starting to resemble at the Costa Rican border with Nicaragua.
Rodríguez said she is worried because, of the 120 refugee claims by Central Americans, 20 are from minors, fleeing extreme poverty, are seeking refuge in Costa Rica.
The director explains that Costa Rica is making every effort to detect these children, who are not detained (arrested) or rejected, they are placed in the hands of the PANI, which in turn placed with the “Mi Familia”, a Nicaraguan institution in Costa Rica that cares for children from the neighbouring country.
Source: La Nacion