There's been a recent surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the United States without visas with the intention of immigrating. 226 immigrants have died crossing the border since October and as recently as last week a body of an eleven year old boy was found in rural south Texas near the border. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained during the same period after entering the U.S. illegally, mostly in South Texas. In an effort to warn the parents of these children of the dangers they face the U.S. government has launched a $1 million international media campaign warning families in Central America that this is a dangerous journey and it's best not to do it.
One image (below) shows a childs footprints in the sand, with the line:
"I thought it would be easy for my son to get papers in the USA. ... I was wrong."
The campaign is called the "Dangers Awareness Campaign" and will be on hundreds of billboards and some 6,500 public service announcements for radio and television stations in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The TV ad that goes with these posters show a young man writing to his uncle in the United States, while his mother pleads with him not to go. The boy writes: "he who doesn't take a chance, doesn't win." and the scene cuts from the home setting to an a pan of the cracked desert floor, with the boys dead body on it. The voiceover then says that smugglers claims new arrivals can get papers easily is false, and ends with "They are our future. Protect them."
"We want a relative that is about to send $5,000, $6,000 to a relative in El Salvador to see this message and say, `Oh my god, they're saying that the journey is more dangerous, because of the train, because of the desert, because of the smugglers,"' said spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Jaime Ruiz. "We try to counter the version of the smuggler."
Ruiz said the campaign is scheduled to run 11 weeks. He will be traveling to cities with large immigrant communities in the U.S. as well to reach the parents or relatives on this side of the border who may help fund a child's trip.