How To Help Immigrant Children

Learn more about programs that are providing critical services for at-risk migrant children.


 

Migrant and immigrant children are some of the most vulnerable populations in the United States. From fleeing high levels of violence in their home countries and completing a dangerous journey to the U.S. border, to facing detainment for months, immigrant children face many barriers to safety and wellbeing.

However, the suffering of children can sometimes feel discouraging and overwhelming to think about, especially when faced with saddening news stories daily. Many of us wonder “How can I help immigrant children?” But we feel powerless to make a real difference. 

Fortunately, it is possible for you to help migrant and immigrant children. Learn more about why immigrant children need your help, and how you can personally do something right now. 

Why immigrant children need our help

 

There are several important reasons why migrant and immigrant children are vulnerable. They range from health concerns and poverty to recent political developments.

Thousands of migrant children have been separated from their families 

One of the most pressing issues involving immigrant children is the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families at the U.S. – Mexico border. In 2018, a zero-tolerance policy by the Trump Administration resulted in families being forcibly separated as they tried to enter the U.S. illegally, most of them fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries

where are migrants coming from

Today, many of these children are still awaiting reunification with their parents. In the meantime, many are placed in detention centers in remote areas of the United States that have been reported to be unsafe for the following reasons: 

Undocumented immigrant children are not eligible for healthcare coverage in most states

Only six states and the District of Columbia provide healthcare coverage for undocumented children. This means that many children likely go without regular check-ups or seek medical attention when necessary. If they do require medical attention, families are likely unable to pay their high medical bills and fall into debt. 

DACA may be ending 

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that allows young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to defer deportation and apply for a work permit. The program allows young people to prepare for life as an adult in the U.S. without fear of deportation from the only home many of them have ever known. 

But the Trump administration has sought to end this program. Currently, those who have already gotten DACA can apply to renew their status, but the program is not accepting new applications. 

Many immigrant children grow up with economic hardship and hunger

If parents are undocumented, they may be unable (or too fearful of deportation) to find work, or they will only be able to work low paying, low-skilled jobs. So, children of undocumented parents often grow up with up severe economic hardships—sometimes going hungry.

how many refugee arrivals are children?

After trauma, many migrant children struggle in school

While all children have a right to receive free public education in the U.S. regardless of their immigration status, many schools are not equipped to educate children who do not speak English yet. 

In addition, many migrant children have suffered months or years of trauma in their home country or during their journey to the U.S., which worsens their ability to adjust to a new culture and language. They might also face discrimination, parents who are working all the time, and poverty—all of which make it more difficult to succeed in school. 

How to help migrant children

 

Fortunately, many organizations have stepped up to offer support and guidance for migrant and immigrant children in the U.S. 

While organizations may need physical help and donations of items, a cash donation is often the best way to help because it is flexible and allows organizations to meet the greatest needs of the moment. 

Here are some vetted migrant-focused organizations you can support through GlobalGiving:

Youth Wellness Program for Refugees and Immigrants by the Village Exchange Center

youth wellness program for refugees and immigrants

The Youth Wellness Program for Refugees and Immigrants will provide after-school support and activities for newly arrived refugee and migrant children to help them feel welcome and adapt more easily to their new life. Your donation helps fund healthy snacks, academic tutoring, and recreational and wellness activities. The Village Exchange Center is a nonprofit that serves the immigrant and refugee community in Aurora, Colorado. 

Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. by the International Rescue Committee

Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. provides aid to refugee women and children who have been victims of war and persecution. Your donation supports education, citizenship assistance, and youth programs.The International Rescue Committee started in 1933 to respond to humanitarian crises around the world. 

Give Marginalized Youth a Voice by Write Our World

This effort by Write Our World provides a free digital library of bilingual eBooks for immigrant children. The books are written in both English and in the student’s native language (especially low-incidence languages) to help students learn more effectively. In addition, the books teach students about their native culture so they develop an appreciation for where they came from as they assimilate into a new culture. Write Our World creates eBooks to help children celebrate their language and culture while learning important skills.

Education Programs for Migrant Children in Tijuana by International Community Foundation

education for migrant children in tijuana

Education Programs for Migrant Children in Tijuana funds education for the thousands of children awaiting asylum in Tijuana (where most cannot attend school). Without this effort, these children would fall further behind in their education while they await entry to the U.S. The International Community Foundation exists to fund charitable projects around the world, especially in Northwest Mexico. 

Empower 10 Refugee Families in the United States by LULAC Institute Inc.

As families wait for their asylum cases to be processed, they live in poverty in border towns — unable to advance their lives and achieve success even once approved. This effort by LULAC Institute Inc. will provide shelter, transportation, food, and a “know your rights” bilingual guide to 10 different families. The LULAC (League of Latin American Citizens) Institute serves the Hispanic population of the U.S. by improving access to financial resources, education, healthcare, and political influence.

After-School Program for Immigrant Teens by Enroot

Many immigrant students in middle and high school who do not speak English fluently, struggle to graduate from high school or get the grades necessary to attend college. Your donation to this program by Enroot helps fund in school and after-school assistance for English language learners so that they can succeed academically. Enroot was founded in 1938 to provide out-of-school experiences for immigrant youth and help them succeed academically, professionally, and personally. 

Child Refugees and Migrants by UNICEF USA

Child Refugees and Migrants by UNICEF aims to protect refugee and migrant children in every situation — while still in their home country, during transit to a new country, during reintegration, and when they arrive in the U.S. UNICEF USA is the U.S. arm of the United Nations Children’s Fund which works globally to provide healthcare, sanitation, water, education, and more. 

Use your voice to help immigrant and migrant children

 

Donating is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help migrant children. The organizations and efforts listed in this article have spent months or years strategizing how to make a difference in the lives of these children. The only thing they’re missing is full funding to make their plans a reality. That’s where you come in as a valuable supporter. 

However, once you’ve made a donation (or set up recurring donations!) to an effort you believe in, you may be wondering if there’s any other way to help. 

There is. Use your voice to hold those in political office accountable and spread the word to other donors. 

You can also speak up for migrant children by sharing this article with family, friends, coworkers, and social media followers. You can encourage those around you to stay informed and donate to an organization that helps migrant and immigrant children. 

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Featured Photo: Primary Education for 11,000+ Nicaraguan Youth by Fabretto Children's Foundation

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