I am a migrant, and I have rights.

Salvadoran Child Migrants’ Desired Hosts

As the post on where Salvadoran children hope to arrive indicated, most Salvadoran child migrants want to reach the United States. Only three (0.9%) wanted to stay in Mexico. Two of the three were sisters joining their mother who fled their alcoholic father/husband. One was returning to her father and siblings in Mexico with her mother. They fled El Salvador for safety in Mexico three years earlier.

The attendant question is with whom do child migrants want to live in the United States? Over 90 percent wanted to live with a family member, from a mom or dad, to an aunt or uncle, to a brother or sister, to a grandmother or grandfather, to a cousin. Eighteen (5.6%) did not have family in the United States: three girls (2.8%) and 15 boys (6.9%). They either planned to go where they had friends or were traveling with their mom, dad and siblings. Nine (2.8%) did not responde: one girl (0.9%) and eight boys (3.7%).

More than half (165 or 51.2%) wanted to live with their mom, dad or mom and dad. Eleven girls (10.4%) and 18 boys (8.3%) planned to reunify with their mom and dad, who are still together. Thirty-six girls (34%) and 52 boys (24.1%) would reunify with only their mom. Twelve girls (11.3%) and 36 boys (16.7%) would reunify with only their dad. Noticeably then, a larger percentage of girls wanted to reunify with their mom, and a larger percentage of boys wanted to reunify with their dad.

Twenty-three percent (73) planned to live with an aunt or uncle. Fourteen girls (13.2%) and 26 boys (12%) will live with an aunt. Seven girls (6.6%) and 26 boys (12%) will live with an uncle. Again, a noticeably larger percentage and number of boys than girls wanted to live with their uncle.

Twenty-six (8.7%) wanted to live with a sister or brother. Nine girls (8.5%) and 12 boys (5.6%) wanted to live with their sister. One girl (0.9%) and six boys (2.8%) wanted to live with their brother. Thus, again, a larger percentage and number of boys than girls wanted to live with their brother, their male family member.

Twenty (6.2%) want to live with a grandmother or grandfather. Seven girls (6.6%) and five boys (2.3%) want to live with their grandmother. One girl (0.9%) and five boys (2.3%) will live with their grandfather. Once again, a larger percentage and number of boys than girls plan to live with their male family member.

Finally, twelve (3.7%) plan to live with a cousin: four girls (3.8%) and eight boys (3.7%).

I asked participants if their family members had legal status and listed the following options for them to choose: citizenship, residence, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), work permit, other, or none. In response, they always paused, looked at each other and seemed to respond randomly. Some correlated length of stay with whether they thought their family member had legal status. For example, many assumed that if their family member lived in the US for 10 or more years, s/he had residence. Others assumed that if their family member had visited, s/he had citizenship. As a result, I may not include these responses in my analysis, although I will likely post them here. I think, ideally, I should follow up with family members in the US to clarify their status.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s