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A Test for all Americans: Unaccompanied Children Deserve a Compassionate Response September 3rd, 2014
“Maria would rather die than return to El Salvador,” notes the child psychiatrist who evaluated the 13-year-old near the U.S./ Mexican border. The girl is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression after escaping rape by a gang member, as well as threats to her grandparents’ lives back in El Salvador. With her in mind, and others like her, it is unthinkable that U.,S. policy proposals would roll back protections afforded to unaccompanied children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. It would give border patrol agents the power to immediately render deportation decisions, and if this happens, children like Maria won’t have the opportunity to even talk to doctors. Read “Vulnerable and Alone: Children Crossing the Border” (PHR), here. The U.S. Bishops are calling for a humanitarian response. Watch this You Tube.
Learn more and spread the word: Watch the three-minute video, Why People are Fleeing Central America, from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, that succinctly explains the root causes of the migration spike. The children are predominantly coming from Honduras (with the #1 homicide rate in the world), El Salvador (#3) and Guatemala (#8), known collectively as the Northern Triangle. Reportedly, street gangs from the 90’s now work closely with the drug lords and increasingly use “join or die” tactics with these children. Watch the video.
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The Missionary Oblates JPIC office joined Interfaith Immigration Coalition in a letter addressed to the President and Congress regarding the recent unaccompanied children who are crossing the US-Mexico border. The interfaith community is expressing concerns for the unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in Central America and frustrations with the way this humanitarian crisis has been handled. The letter requests that steps be taken in a just, effective, compassionate and comprehensive way to address the needs of children and families who are fleeing harm in Central America.