The surge of Central American minors and families immigrating to the United States continues. Nevertheless, this influx is accompanied by a hopeful protest. The Honduran youth has spoken – they do not want to migrate to the United States.
Or, at least, that's the message the government is trying to send.
As part of Honduras's "No Migrant Month", an initiative by the Ministry of Education and the Office of the First Lady, a series of interscholastic debates were held in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Santa Rosa de Copan to discuss the topic of migration.
During the debates, organized by the government's Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family (DINAF in Spanish) and the UN's International Organization for Migration, the participants focused on prevention of child migration. Among the participants, ninth grader Ernesto Daniel Avila Luna said the following, ''I ask the government to pay fair wages to our parents so that we may continue our education and don't have to emigrate.'' He also advised other minors to not to undertake the migratory route; and if it is necessary, do so by legal means.
Another student, Seylin Barahona, considered lack of education and lack of employment for parents to be the primary causes for child migration. Barahona said, "Migration is a phenomenon that has destroyed our country and others in the region." She went on to explain that many of her families had emigrated but she would not like to be forced to do the same.
The debates also covered subjects such as the dangers and difficulties faced by those who leave the country. The students offered potential solutions to these problems. Notably, the subject of "regular" or "legal" migration was also debated.
Francisco Adalid Urbina of DINAF specified that these debates are a part of the preventive approach which the government has undertaken on this issue. As part of these efforts the nation's First Lady, Ana Hernandez, spoke to students to raise awareness of the dangers of emigrating and to impart a sense of national pride: "Honduras is the best place to live, your families are here, don't leave for the United States."