The Journey of Unaccompanied Children through the U.S. Immigration System

By USCRI May 17, 2021

In March of this year, 15,918 children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador crossed into the U.S. at our southern border—the highest number of children since we began collecting data in 2010. Although this number has dropped in recent months, the children who have made this long and dangerous crossing without their parents are of special concern as they make their way through the U.S. immigration system.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is with these children along the way at crucial points in the immigration system. We meet them within just a few days of their arrival at the border. Rinconcito del Sol (a little corner of sunshine), a shelter for unaccompanied girls from 10-17, begins providing a circle of care to these children to help them overcome the multiple traumas of their young lives. From there, we work with the children to address their physical and mental health as well as begin the process of family reunification and legal services for their asylum claims.

On May 13th, in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of unaccompanied children in the U.S. and the ways in which we can help them, USCRI hosted a Facebook Live broadcast. This broadcast was the first of a series of conversations documenting the immigration journey of unaccompanied children in the U.S.

The conversation took place between USCRI Vice President AnnaMarie Bena, who oversees all the care and services provided to unaccompanied children, and Rinconcito del Sol Director Elcy Valdez. AnnaMarie asks the questions that only someone like Elcy, on the frontlines of care, can answer.

If you would like to learn more about the immigration journey of unaccompanied children, watch and listen to this insightful conversation posted above of those with a prime seat at the immigration table.

The series continues on Thursdays at 2pm EST on Facebook Live at facebook.com/USCRI.

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