Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Understanding the Child Migrant Crisis



I've been so disturbed lately reading the hateful rhetoric about the 50K children who have crossed the Texas border in the last year or more. It appears to me that people are confusing two very different and separate situations: the immigration issue and the unaccompanied minors crisis.

If you don't know much about the children who are crossing from Mexico into Texas, here are the facts:
  • More than 52,000 children have been caught crossing the U.S. border alone since October (that's more than double last year's number).
  • The majority of these children are from three Central American countries: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Mexico, Ecuador, and other countries together make up less than a quarter of the remainder. 
  • The world recognizes these three countries as being in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.
  • Over the last several years, a citizen was more likely to be killed in one of these countries, than to be killed in Iraq at the height of its insurgency.
  • The highest number of children come from Honduras, which currently leads the world with the highest homicide rate.
  • 3/4 of the minors are boys, but in the last year the number of girls and younger children has dramatically increased.
  • Most of these kids are crossing the Texas/Mexico border.
  • The US is not the only country to which they are fleeing. The surrounding Central American countries such as Costa Rica and Nicaragua are also experiencing the mass migration of children across their borders.

The immigration issue deals with people coming to this country for better economic opportunities.

The unaccompanied children coming to this country are fleeing for their lives, not to find a job. 

Organizations and facilities along the border and now across the country are overwhelmed with the responsibility of housing these children until they get a hearing. They need help with basic supplies and services.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of whether or not they should stay or go, I hope that we can all agree that while they are in holding facilities, these children should be treated with compassion and respect.

So I am happy to be a partner with several other great groups including the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Speak Hispanic, Family is Familia, and other partner organizations to help direct individuals and families who would like to help to those organizations directly working with the children. Many are accepting item and monetary donations, as well as volunteers such as interpreters and lawyers to help these children navigate the legal system. You can find all this and more by visiting our website: BorderKidsRelief.org.

Please note that we are not accepting monetary donations ourselves. We are directing you to the facilities and organizations who are in need.

All of the children who are detained are placed in detention centers and "temporary shelters." They are screened by the Department of Health and Human Services and given immunizations if needed. Upon leaving the shelters, the children are placed with relatives or foster families/sponsors. Several organizations are desperately looking for foster families for these children because they need to make room for more children arriving.

If you or your community or your church or your child's troop/club is looking to support through monetary or item donations, please check out the organizations listed on our site under "Get Involved." Many are accepting Shoe Box Donations with basic toiletry items.

And if you know of an organization working with these children, you can recommend it be added to the site.

Below is a GREAT video from vox.com that explains in two minutes the child migration crisis. I encourage you to watch if you can.

Thanks for your compassion.


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