Rodrigo Domínguez-Villegas, recipient of a CRF Graduate Family Research Fellowship in 2016-17, recently authored a report for the Migration Policy Institute that explores the recent spike in the apprehension of unaccompanied children in Mexico as they travel from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras on their way to the United States. The report, Strengthening Mexico’s Protection of Central American Unaccompanied Minors in Transit, examines the legal framework in place in Mexico to protect unaccompanied children and highlights a number of areas where further progress is needed.
Drawing on previously unpublished data from Mexican government agencies, interviews with Mexican officials, and reports from civil society organizations, Domínguez-Villegas find that few child deportees are protected once they are returned to Mexico.
“Most unaccompanied children get deported back to the violence they were trying to escape. Less than one percent of all children apprehended in Mexico apply for asylum, and less than 100 out of the 17,500 apprehended got some form of international protection.”
Domínguez Villegas, a PhD student in the sociology department, received the $10,000 CRF pre-dissertation award to continue his research on families who return to Mexico after living in the United States. Rodrigo’s mentor is Dr. Jennifer Lundquist, a professor of sociology at UMass Amherst. His primary research interests include international migration, economic development, and public policy analysis. He is also an independent consultant for the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC where he has written policy reports on international migration in North and Central America, return migration, and Mexico’s migration policy.