The UN's #RefugeeChildren Campaign

By Kausha Luna on May 4, 2016

On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a new digital campaign: #NiñezRefugiada or #RefugeeChildren. The campaign aims to explain the reasons why children and adolescents flee El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Through digital postcards, banners, and an animated 30-second video, the campaign invites the public to learn more about the stories of "refugee children" on the campaign website, according to the UNHCR press release. The release goes on to indicate that the number of people who flee Central America and seek refuge in other countries continues to increase. Requests for refugee status by people from Central America's northern triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) increased 77 percent in Mexico compared to 2014, 137 percent in Costa Rica, and 767 percent in Belize. Nicaragua and Panama also saw an increase in applications. However, the United States continues to receive the most applications for refugee status from these three countries, recording an average increase of 92 percent in requests for these three countries between 2014 and 2015.

The English translation of the campaign video is as follows:

Every day hundreds of boys, girls, and adolescents, are forced to flee the violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

They have to leave everything behind, cross the border confronting grave risks, with only the hope of saving their lives and finding protection in a different country.

With your solidarity, it will be easier for them to start over.

Learn more. Discover their stories and share them.

The #NiñezRefugiada campaign was created under the framework of the UNHCR program "Niños de la Paz"("Children of Peace"), with the support of the Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Union (ECHO).

This campaign is yet another example of the one-dimensional migration narrative propagated by open borders supporters. While violence is one of the push factors for migration to the United States, the campaign fails to acknowledge other principal push and pull factors, such as better economic and educational opportunities, family reunification, and recent U.S. immigration lenience toward Central American migrants. As my colleague Nayla Rush recently explained, family reunification is a key factor in the migration of Central American minors. Therefore, the assertions of campaigns like the one described above should not be taken at face value. One should evaluate why these minors are really coming to the United States, question labels such as "refugee children," and question policies intended to benefit these presumed refugees.