Migrants Account for 1 in 4 Births in Southern Mexican Border Hospital

Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images Recently detained migrants, many of them family units, sit and await processing in the US Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas on August 12, 2019.
File Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Tapachula General Hospital in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas recorded 932 deliveries during 2021 solely to migrant mothers. The births at the hospital account for nearly 1 in 4 deliveries in a city of more than 350,000 residents. Tapachula sits on the Mexico-Guatemala Border and is the primary crossing point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach the United States. This emerging trend represents a challenge for U.S. authorities eventually tasked with removing a nuclear family where citizenship differs between parent and child.

A news report by Portal Fronterizo provides the data accumulated throughout 2021. Most migrant deliveries were to mothers from Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti.

Half of the deliveries were born strictly to Guatemalan migrants.

The births recorded to the migrants highlight the global nature of irregular migration in the hemisphere. As migrants have left countries and temporarily settled in other parts of the world, family units have increasingly become multi-national. Mexico, like the United States, confers citizenship to those born in the country regardless of the parent’s nationality.

The births that occur outside a migrant’s home country can create a legal quandary once they enter the United States. Some formal removal options to the parent’s home country will not apply to their children when citizenship differs. In many cases, these migrant families will be released into the United States due to the complications.

Migrants are required to remain in Tapachula while their claims are adjudicated by Mexico’s Commission on Refugees (COMAR). Once COMAR rules, only then will the National Institute of Migration (INM) issue travel documents to depart Chiapas. The wait time has led to the increase in medical care needed by expecting mothers.

Those who choose not to wait often enlist the aid of smugglers to illegally proceed north. Thousands have formed migrant caravans marching slowly toward the U.S. southern border.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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