Children Don't Migrate, They Flee

ABC News' Serena Marshall talks to the photographers behind the new exhibit at the Russell Senate Office Building which depicts the harrowing journey of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America to come to the U.S.
28:16 | 01/20/16

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Transcript for Children Don't Migrate, They Flee
A I'm ABC's Sabrina Marshall here this office building for a photo exhibit culled children don't migrate eight fleet. Focusing attention on unaccompanied minors only in children's lacrosse in the US border at staggering numbers. Complete your today. The photographers. He's got an ease yourself I am Katy islands. And Houston news and in Austin. I analysts partner endearment. And with the alliance and leave it out and you know Clinton and think that it together let me just ninety brings us together and sit here. We just needed to partner with two young children and it's you bring attention to the issue of unaccompanied aryan children. Who are combing over the border. Com and fleeing really rampant violence in the north the northern. Immediately wanted to play. Attention on the root causes of why they're coming and produced dominant in northern. Triangle business. And Salvador. Or extract factory in Central America and so let's take a look at some of these buddhas here. You guys. August. Yeah this is an image a region bottom all of our consultant not and it's one of the forests. Areas of the entire country and party rates are above 90%. So. I hope so lesson this is. So this is just one of the many civilians as it looks teaching these kids are coming yeah and this is a case where this is not ticket that are. Particularly more violent area than others but it is and poverty here is life threatening. And the New Zealand. Resource and absolutely I mean day scared they're risking their lives against the united seats. And leaving here and you know being a part journeys and children are leaving alone because. Here they could diet. Variety of factors like violence and war or even disease that Jesus is being beaten he takes on his journey it's actually seats and children source and this is an example it's really rare for children in this region go to school especially girls so here's a girl who doesn't go to school working whisker. Grandparents and her mother washing clothes. I'm so this is kind of a common say throughout this area of Guatemala and the incident currently. I believed he was awful war before the time. And she's working she's warranties were getting. And eats did you get to me is innocent I'm pleased to talk is pleased to hear yes again Easter mean did you eat this. Past Ellis. When embezzling union. I think it was. It was an interesting situation because I wasn't even. Aware yet at the time that I was going to be meeting children. Who didn't go to school at all. There's another photographs and talk about it as children who both work and go to school. And now this was a need options are. So I can talk but little more than another picture. And must keep knocking her anything this notice or hear yes and this is a case where and do you trying to protect children news I'm mark and up in the shelters throughout Guatemala. Who'd been deported from Mexico are the United States they don't necessarily offer access to talk. But in this case I found this little girl because. Her she and her mother had been deported from Mexico and years in prison she didn't sexually assaulted a little early and another month. They'd been through hell and the mother was. Incredibly mentally disturbed traumatized after the experience. And an and it doctor there by chance. I knew about her case and introduced in the event so this isn't even really through any affiliated. Ngo or anything like that. It's kind of situation where you can talk to. Hint of the people and one of them is gonna have a story like this woman's story and so this is the daughter with her on thumb and her mother. They reject this afternoon into the argument meaning state dear deported from Mexico so this is on another pretty big ish images that. The US is outsourcing. Stopping. And migration from Central America and pouring resources into Mexico to take care of it and done they're pouring resources into authorities that are corrupt and often. In times of peace human race. And and make money from this so it's it's a really big issue and the fact that we're giving our money and then to take care of it. Is this endless evening London about a policy raises. Its hand in order to try and stop that 2014 in record numbers. And unaccompanied children coming across the border so when that the policy changes they mean is to ask Mexico to help stem this time. He actually assist Haiti was named the Mexican government has been interdicting children and families index means I'm in northern turning. You ask corner and it's been a really damaging policies and a lot of us. Families that are interjected in Mexico don't Mexican authorities. Who are acting because it US influence. Are. Terribly traumatized by experience and often and are forced to return to conditions not. Our islands. And really life threatening. It's and it's really important that the US government stopped putting pressure on Mexico to interject Stanley. I'm and enable them to make it safe journey to the United States and repair I had. It's more cost effective. Term solutions by investing our resources to reduce the root causes of the crisis. Lot of miles Salvadoran Doris I establishing a child protection systems. Investing and I'm programs. And making sure that they're. He's smooth. What aren't really rampant. Violence by both gangs and also of family violence and abuse that is really happy people from their homes and forcing them to come steaming. State business people critics perhaps. This might increases might say that it beat Mexico's job to stop it before they get seen and states because. They hit Mexico first the what you told his critics though now these people and their story is that these scenes. What we believe strongly it's. Not the people in these photos and Reyes. Children that are coming to the United States and causing through maps and well. I'm a basic rights or protections. And that basic rights should not be jeopardized and we. We believe that it is in jeopardy when Mexican authorities are injured containing these families by not enabling them. To make state. It's the United States this isn't an immigration crisis this is a refugee crisis and we need to focus on. Where the real problems are and they aren't and Honduras Guatemala and El Salvador the United States has centuries. I love tradition of protecting people from persecution. And we need to deliver on consider. Standard. And now he's. Moving into this next. Again so this is done. These are times and so this is a child in Guatemala City switches scenario where there's. When of the highest. Murder rates in the world. And a lot of violence and he's working here in the market. And you can be pretty sure that when he becomes a teenager he's gonna be recruiting rankings have you seen this insurgency. I think. Because of my own personal experience meeting children in a similar situation because of meeting. Young men and young girls in the night in shelters or fleeing by. Yeah Disney owner news work begins east and Tom. I think I needed this story goes that is somebody lose like this child he's vulnerable he's not in school or he lives in. Certain kind of neighborhood and get through it doesn't look out. Or criminal activity or he gets recruited to join the game eat hidden in his Stanley are threatens lives. First they're probably extorted for money but if they don't. It's really you know you can either dire you can join us tanks the you'll meet. A lot of young children do that's why they're leading and that's by the fleeing the United States. And and here's another example. And actually win. Here. Justices. Yeah good news for this. Christmas that's mainly between fourteen tourists and their lives GOP sun seven and twelve. Who murdered. And and it's. I was out here. Recently. Is and that's bringing sooner of the rates of violent city in the Central America and really how high they aren't just as lieutenant northern wrangling talking about this area right here correctly to act. Invite you see is not rates of homicide. In these countries and reliable work zone. And sir. He's us soldiers and their families are coming from places where there. Are fleeing to higher threatens to dinner there isn't around. The evening. And I'm mean that in so vitally important that we cheat death as a humanitarian. Crisis and not focus our attention of current. Further. Creating barriers to people coming to the United States and treating him like immigration reasons but recognized that these are refugees. And that means. For behind them with the protection that they deserve under US an under international. There is a lot of especially during his election cycle concern about this. Clinton unaccompanied children and mothers and killings in Hastings and now we're not the level he signed when he pre teen. The numbers aren't pregnant percent over what they weren't when he fifteens resiliency that ticket and I'm. Now a lot of people blame counter it. Leaning seats opening doors to these refugee in his spirit of the world can't viewers to him who he told them about these. About this situation compared to yeah. I don't think that the concern is justified I think the United States as well equipped to handle not only to refugees from this region but from other regions around the world. And what we have to remember is that we're part of a global safety net for people are facing persecution. And that it's important that we live up to their standards. ABC Serena Marshall the senate office building were taking a look at any photo exhibit. Of unaccompanied alien children and here joined. Katie I I don't think politics signals an end to get back where we left off but they're looking at this map and the northern triangle hunger is ranked number one homicide ruled drinking and and and you were telling us this food. And this image and bottom line it's from large cemetery and Guatemala's. Recent refined for its kindness is in Guatemala City Eyewitness News is in the world and here's a young boy working. In the cemetery. This child and he's. Thirteen thirteen yes he actually lists Siskel and homelessness and experience. There's a lot of different factors including violence but there's also poverty. Look at. And here's another. Definitely an Easter eggs in children airport and there. Island BT Jack twelve and eat and. They have no parents at that pretty much known to take care and accept that there. On uncle who are also impoverished. But did you have a sisters fourteen bu. My greetings the United States and meet incident fourteen year old sisters supporting this entire family. In Guatemala they're urging Ernster did she do that journey across the board yeah I and so Ecstasy she was limited and it comes she was unaccompanied minor and now. At this point. There's really no option for these girls are evidence code telling her sister. Now he needs these issues and grievances she must be fourteen happening and shot him your how yes. And many packed them and in the Golan David dean. And the gold their ability to needless to builder at our house. That's and they want it to a company. Don't. Citigroup and students in a school. In endurance. Three freezes. Eight years as gains controls wounds using them as a base to sell drugs and where students. The ministry of education reported that 2000 children between each of the 317. Stopped attending school during 2013 and ten meters left. This harassment and bullying by gains. Others who dropped out 86%. Between east sticks in fourteen. Yeah. This is a scene and murder and a little six year old. Sitting next to it. It's also mentors. Coming through me. How it's. Number absolutely not so being one of the biggest issues is that. With this crackdown and with a lot of children who are fleeing the violence. Getting caught they're getting sent back. To places where there aren't certain ranks and soon this here is means. The bus in the region. Yeah on the bus are pennant. Trying to make it through Mexico and meat eating its seats and this is when. Chris can be seen crossing she just cross the border actually from Guatemala and Mexico. And I followed her on a boat crossing this river. And down. Yeah I mean it's just it was under back when he Texan accent I mean there's so much violence and it's so challenging you can see how remote. The Greeks are taking now so. Everybody in yeah. It's cracked down so these are a lot more removed in years past and done. They're also. Controlled by gangs in Central Bank criminals cartels and there even more vulnerable than ever. These women in these children and he Stanley's speaking this crossing. And it's not a good idea to bring money with you any resource because you'll get from it so they have to plan ahead and pretty much just going to close on him back. Anderson's rocking. And these. Ironkey sisters and their friend from Honduras thirteen fourteen and sixteen. Traveling with the coyotes. As we continue my. Care. Nonetheless that this is the girls on. And particular comparing its employees. And what risks. Seeing is that in addition. She boy switchers seeking unity. I think conditions not do increased rates of gender based violence both within the home as well. I'm really expecting the number of girls that are fleeing and snow this demonstrates Haiti that uptick of violence and raise revenues term. The higher rates earned. Fleeing that these girls are. Experiencing. In them. Guatemala Honduras and El Salvador and its traffic keen concern these young children traveling sounds. It's ground. Trafficking is one of the issues such as he things. Children and their families both in their home country is a long around. She the United States. And then once they get to the United States there's also a risk to them change happens here and so we believe that it's one of the elements that it's time. The migration from movies. In addition to getting my Stanley science her action. A lack of access to justice. Could be here when it these images these genes linked. Yet this as a shelter at large shelters in southern Mexico. Mostly Central American. My parents there mountain passes along his journey here yeah attorneys and one of the first stops and it's a lot of volunteers and it sounds. And priests who run this shelter in case you can't help people out along the way. There are moving more and hardly eat. And is here is protect yeah. Borders texas' actually. I think we've handled this bridge between it and in next. And when did this in lines for these and it's. Leaving I mean they're not crossing the sleek lines and keep appointments. They're not a lot of animals I think this is a common space but this isn't news to come is that it doesn't fourteen times the highest numbers I would become too illegal entry point now and I'm Tryon. This area but they came across the air and it. Supporters call on her seeking its time. Why would you present yourself to Wear patrolling engagement sneak into the united. It's the rain these if we're not just into the unit states they were fleeing an act and imprisoning themselves that works on its partners. It's ask. Us. Now we're seen being scenes. Don't six. Young girl another round. Teenage eat an angry in this ancient. Synthesis. As his parents. Yeah system oranges shelter and he's cute young children. Let their mothers' lives that their mothers. I couldn't photograph them because any time. Their lives are at risk they are being threatened by gains in their home countries and for safety reasons beat out as best he. In any pictures says the diesel. Is century. Media and not and sometimes you have to meet Collins Tucker for yourself and is somebody chosen their story and hedonism is looking for them. Even justice and it's best not. Each other games. And here we have of where yeah. In Texas. Yes that this is in south Texas Texas and he most common aging queen percent of Americans and it is the shortest route through Mexico it is my duty. Detectives are using this route. Set in south Texas it's kind of costs you know something up to approximately actually have to insert that seconds at a checkpoint about seventy miles north and it. And as the impact on an added expresses its headquarters agents technology it's actually a lot harder and expect these payments to attend this thing says. The essential Americans were actually take them away. The checkpoint at age 81 it was sentenced him and how we came to visit us amounts weren't New Mexico Texas border current. I'm sitting here on this the most dangerous part of the journey in the US this where people I've found dead. Up in their split up. Agent has intercepted it and it just wouldn't. And Larry these people and leading the agent has been used for those other ones actually turning themselves and made so that sent some people take different. Approaches on this list this year I can't speak to digital and connect inspect. This summer to doesn't Wear jeans and we saw women and children of presenting themselves supporters on mass. And then it shifted back somewhere and people Chang actually. Escape Edward tells them what we're seeing here people that our public. And now it's 2018 just wrapped it also had a record year to an inclusive is 2014 members. It's there are a lot of people representing themselves and at the same time there's. There'll innocent Americans. This isn't what it took. In Bucks County Texas. As you can. Very talented. And most of these teams have accidentally critically ill and Nancy and even monitor holiday goods. Cain holding facility we know the process is fairly opaque and very inconsistent since her insane how. Each person bears spent a lot of them will request some form of a silent enemy teeny tiny percentage will be an ordinance. There's not. It's some of the movement's two again some of them being released in the west they don't have yeah. And many of them will be deported right next dangerous conditions thinking and probably intended to. Melissa when you yeah. Do you deal with these families Wednesday coming to Nancy and there happy where health facilities. There are many service for nine years that do break there are still alone. Unity. After an insurmountable. Challenges of people getting access and services in the program presentation that they need and it's used in this game. Only a tiny fraction of what we believe is a much larger deserving population. Activists are coming to seek protection actually Jack black's firm that their legal right and that legal review refugee status. It didn't. Hence Jackson's I'm you can get asylum status meantime here's the United States. There are also other forms of protection that are available for humanitarian reasons. Special on immigrant juveniles earnest. Some who happens happens Mike yes WordPad. Texas trafficking victims and others make important protection as victims of crime. It really depends on I'm the circumstances of the individual but we believe that the United States as well as. Positions as long as those protections remain in. To protect them large percentage of those are coming here and we don't want to see any of those protections jeopardize. Now this isn't win. This sent northern triangles Central America and that there is that building trying to reduce or block the numbers Syrian refugees are you concerned with is pending bills coming through congress. How little impact individuals we've just taken a look at eighties and we didn't he sir. Bridge he knows that would jeopardize those protections that are in. You less that protect refugees. And other humanitarian. Migrants and we. Really want to make sure that those protections are strain. So if anything that would. Clinton roadblocks. In front of those who are trying to access the protection that ages there is something that you don't want to see happen and not. It really is not something that. This sounds too good values that. Our government and our communities. Are able to deliver Atlanta concerned we're protect. Dean you next season the citizens of the United States. Can you explain arbor news folks that are coming through screens how release screens should people worry about who is coming across our. We don't believe that there adequate reasons to worry about those who are accompanying across our borders taking protection. And we believe there aren't many bigger house cleaning. Standards in place your insurer. Samples are here to us but we're looking at that when people I can't get there are often bring in detention facilities. There partners acts undertaken. Here health checks undertaken. There's a really trigger ask them evil adjudication. Of people's claims. Which pictures of residents cleaning results it only a fraction of those adding that accident. And that we believe they discern. So at every level and every dean's of this past. -- measures put in place to ensure that the safety. Of the United States as well take. And Kara. And in fact what we need to do is make sure that these people safety is nurtured and. And so he spent finishing up his big city here we have a group of women and children. Every pendant. In 2014 that this is this is a proven itself present its headquarters filtering this search when this highest. And listening to children from dance. They were just one of hundreds that night sitting sounds hundreds that single anchor next. There. Seemed thinking yeah. Neighbor's home. Somewhat timid because they weren't entirely certain that they work safely in the US and they would be in good hands we don't know exactly when they went through and the journey to get to this point. But once they. Once they were ushered to dispose of whatever they can relax and and willingly went with. And this is another one of the sort of took facilities women are kept separate amenities facilities and in an ideal situation they'll move through this a couple of days that would overcrowding kind of resistance slowing down. Sometimes it's been a weak spots. Until we human and he's really make. Yeah this is an aerial image on taken by. And security helicopter that needs Border Patrol and attacking my patient. Soon. This is part of Obama's surge after this December 2014. He spent a lot of money and part of the money went towards things like this and increased helicopter surveillance technology more agents on the ground. You're last minute here. And eastern on news. It's actually and it's been Associated Press talk. It's. From Guatemala. It's so a fifteen year old. Experience hometown nearly a month after he became a symbol of the airlines facing unaccompanied children have been flooding into the and so. And so he was found along the Rio Grande Valley and south Texas. Look I think you all three free joining hands and anti cancer on exhibit people once I know more information they can. No one sailor sort of thinking goods and slavery and trafficking. Work pretty. And for ABC news I'm strain of Marshall thanks for Cheney and tonics and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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