Sad Case Has Drawn Public Attention As Immigration Services Intervene
A sad case involving an American family has emerged over the past week as a mother seemingly abandoned her teenage daughters in Cancun. The news came to light after the two girls turned themselves into immigration services.
According to reports, the two girls had moved to Cancun in October 2021 along with their mother. The woman, who at present has remained unnamed for the protection of the girls, was working in Cancun as a domestic service provider. Her exact role remains unclear, but her being involved with domestic services makes the case even more inexplicable.
The family is from South Carolina where the mother returned alone earlier in the year, leaving the two girls in the home where she was working. In mid-February, the two girls appeared in Merida, Yucatan province, and checked themselves into the Mexican immigration services. It is assumed they traveled by bus to Merida, but details are unclear on the matter.
The two girls, aged 16 and 13, have spent the last two months under the protection of the Mexican immigration services in conjunction with the US consulate in the area. They were placed into the care of the Office for the Protection of Children and Adolescents, and the System for the Comprehensive Development of the Family in Yucatan.
Negotiations and preparations for their safe return to the United States were completed last week, and on April 13th, the girls boarded a flight to South Carolina via Atlanta. The Diplomatic Security Service took control of the girl’s care on arrival in Columbia, South Carolina.
At this point, there is no indication the girls have been returned to their mother, but it is assumed an investigation is underway as to why the mother chose to leave her children in another country.
According to South Carolina law, child abandonment can lead to the termination of parental rights and could see the children placed in organized foster care or other forms of care. In the worst-case scenario, someone found guilty of willful child abandonment can face up to ten years in prison, although most don’t receive prison sentences.
The unfortunate circumstances have allowed the Mexican Immigration service to show its ability to function well with the American services. Problems do arise on a regular basis with VISAs, citizenship or residency, and other incidents that involve repatriation. The girls were kept safe throughout their time in Mexico before leaving the country and all reports suggest the only reason they were kept as long as they were was to ensure a safe return to South Carolina.
Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo have seen a massive surge in tourism over the past two years as Mexico’s relaxed stance on COVID restrictions turned it into a sought-after destination. As it takes center stage in the world of tourism, questions are constantly asked about its safety and infrastructure. The steady rise in gang violence, in particular, has drawn criticism as well as some blatant lapses in health and safety standards, so it’s generally positive for the region when the services in place function well and offer reassurance to travelers in the region that things will be okay if they take a turn for the worse.
Thankfully the young girls are safe, and although their future may be uncertain for now, the Mexican immigration services successfully did their job to protect their wellbeing before being sent back to the United States.
Any tourists who come across young people who appear to be lost or in distress in Cancun should report the incident to the police or immigration services immediately to allow the best course of action to take place.
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