Despite the many challenges on the journey to the U.S., thousands of people make the conscious decision to risk not only their own lives, but also the lives of their children, in hopes of escaping the horrors at home. Here’s a guide to supporting migrants fleeing life-threatening situations in Mexico, Central America, and beyond.
Appalling gang violence and human rights abuses in Mexico, Central America, and beyond have forced families, individuals, and children to seek protection within U.S. borders. The list of asylum seekers waiting to enter the country has risen to 10,000 names at the Tijuana/San Diego border alone.
The backgrounds of those pursuing security within the U.S. vary greatly. These include the Cameroonians fleeing government persecution, mothers from El Salvador whose children were murdered after refusing gang membership, and Russians seeking political asylum.
Many migrants who survive the dangerous journey to the US continue to suffer emotional, physical, and mental hardships after crossing the Southern border. The trauma of long-term detention has been shown to have particularly detrimental effects on children. In Mexico and Central America, UN human rights officials have reported numerous violations against migrants in transit, including “excessive use of force, family separation, denial of services and arbitrary expulsions.”
How You Can Help
Our vetted nonprofit partners have been responding to this crisis on the border. You can support our partners’ efforts to protect the human dignity of migrants—from projects in Tijuana supporting the education of migrant youth to organizations providing trauma care for recently detained children.
You can help by supporting migrants in the following ways.
1. Support migrants after they’ve been released from detention centers.
Imagine you have just been released after being detained for days or for months, and have been promptly dropped off on a corner by an ICE transportation vehicle. Where do you turn? Local migrant transit shelters on the border, such as those supported by Save the Children, search for recently released children and families and provide them with the necessary resources to plan their next steps.
2. Give access for migrants seeking mental and physical health assistance.
Focusing specific attention on the needs of women and children, Circle of Health International offers trauma-informed specialists and provides critical medical attention. In this complex crisis, organizations such as COHI ensure the care of members of the LGBTQI community, people living with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, and children with special needs.
3. Help migrants stay in school while their asylum applications are processed.
As migrants in Tijuana wait for their asylum applications to be processed, most children are not enrolled in school. This indefinite gap in students’ education can spell dire consequences for the educational development and social engagement of children. The International Community Foundation is spearheading an innovative program to promote literacy, socio-emotional learning skills, and parent-training among Tijuana’s migrant population, as well as providing a space for migrants and local residents to engage with one another.
4. Show your support for migrants in Mexico, on the route to safety.
In the pursuit of security, migrants traveling throughout Mexico are vulnerable to a host of threats, such as robbery, extortion, human trafficking, and illegal detentions by Mexican authorities. In light of these human rights violations, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, A.C. works diligently to monitor and protect the rights of migrants through advocacy and watchdog efforts.
Explore these projects and learn more about how GlobalGiving partners are responding to this crisis.
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Featured Photo: Child Refugees and Migrants by UNICEF USA