Youth found in abandoned truck trailer returned to Guatemala | Migration News

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Authorities say the 106 children, many teenage boys, were traveling without family in search of a better life in the United States.

More than 100 Guatemalan children and teenagers have been flown home after being found in a truck trailer in Mexico, one of the largest recent repatriations of unaccompanied minors to the Central American country.

The flight to Guatemala City on Wednesday was carrying 106 youths ages 12 to 17 who had been traveling without family to the United States, Guatemala’s migration agency said this week.

“We are very concerned because we see the return of children and teenagers increasing,” said Wanda Aspuac, an official at the Guatemalan migration institute, who noted that many were teenage boys with primary education only.

A view of the interior of the abandoned truck trailer
An abandoned truck was found in Mexico containing 343 migrants and asylum seekers, more than 100 of whom were unaccompanied minors. [Mexico’s National Migration Institute/Reuters]

Guatemala had already received 430 unaccompanied minors from Mexico and the US between January and March before the latest group was found by Mexican authorities in a trailer in the eastern state of Veracruz.

The majority of unaccompanied minors who arrive in the US from Central America come from Guatemala, according to US data on unauthorized crossings at the country’s southern border. Many are often fleeing deep poverty.

Speaking outside a migration office in Guatemala City, Rony Saquil said his 17-year-old brother, Oscar, was frustrated by the lack of education in their village.

Saquil explained that his brother was planning to reunite with their father in Chicago, Illinois, and that he would likely try the trip again soon.

“There’s nothing to help us get ahead… The school we’re in is three hours away,” he said.

Another 17-year-old Glendi, one of nine siblings, had also sought a better future than was possible in her hometown where she was only able to get a basic education, her aunt Rutilia said. Bin Ich.

The girl had hoped to live with her sister, who was already in the US, and help provide for her younger siblings.

“Living in extreme poverty is what led her to this path,” Bin Ich said.

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