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A Test for all Americans: Unaccompanied Children Deserve a Compassionate Response

September 3rd, 2014


Children at the Border;
Photo credit: Catholic Charities,
Archdiocese of Dubuque

“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.

 Additional Resources:

  • Interfaith Immigration comprehensive toolkit. Click here.
  • Child Refugee Crisis of 2014: What’s in a Name? Read Bread for the World’s blog here.
  • NETWORK’s article (Connection, Third Quarter 2014, coming soon online): Unaccompanied Minors at the Border: A Humanitarian Crisis that Demands Faithful and Compassionate Action by Stephanie Niedringhaus, plus “commonsense” information on current immigration reform. Click here.
  • Why are We Detaining These Women and their Children? Click here.
  • Why Would Any Parent Send their Kids on the Deadly Trip to Cross the Mexico-U.S. Border? Here’s Why, Click here
  • Watch the short video account of three Guatemalan children’s trek with a “guide who failed to protect,” and hear their mother’s heartfelt plea that they remain with her in Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer cover story, 8/17/14). Watch hereIn a follow-up report, at least five Guatemalan children, who were deported back to Guatemala, have been murdered since February, Click here.


This post comes from the excellent E-Newsletter of the Comboni Missionaries. You can subscribe to it by sending an email to:

The Comboni JPIC Network (CJN) Newsletter provides access to information on global issues from Church and Mission-related sources. Their focus is on Justice and Peace issues, and on how the U.S. policies affect the Third World countries. Contact information: 1318 Nagel Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45255 · phone 513.474.4997; fax 513.474.0382; –

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