El Salvador issues border cards to migrant children and adolescents

5 December, 2018


San Salvador, El Salvador. - On November 17 and 18, the fourth ID registration day was held for children and adolescents who transit the border zone in Morazán. The event was run by the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME), with support from the United Nations’ migration agency (IOM).

Approximately 300 children and adolescents received IDs during the registration day. The ID is a Local Border Transit Card, which is intended to facilitate movement between the municipalities of Perquín and Arambala in El Salvador and Nahuaterique in Honduras.

It streamlines the migration control process, which is necessary to access education, health, and supplemental nutrition services for children living on the Honduras side. It also enables migration authorities to protect children and adolescents from the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling more effectively. The card is mandatory and free of charge. When children or adolescents have passports, they will be able to use both documents and comply with the requirements established in article 44 of the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents Law.

With support from IOM, the DGME has held ID registration days since 2017, issuing a total of 3,928 cards to date.

"Having this document makes it easier for us to travel with our children, whether for taking them to the clinic or for them to attend school," said Esmeralda, mother of an 8-month-old girl who has the card. "Before we used to cross at blind spots, because it was very complicated to go through the procedures, but now with the card it is safer and we don't put our children at risk," she concluded.

In 2015, IOM used its own funds to carry out a census of population and housing in the border region of Nahuaterique which registered over 6 thousand people, allowing them to access social programs with special emphasis on health, education, and housing. With the Convention on Nationality and Acquired Rights in the Demarcated Zone in 1998, the governments of El Salvador and Honduras recognized that the population of this region has the right to choose either Salvadoran or Honduran nationality. It also granted them rights to property and freedom of movement across the border.

This ID registration day was supported by the Regional Migration Program (Mesoamerica Program), which is funded by the Department of State of the United States and administrated by IOM.