Central American children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are migrating to the United States alone in record numbers. While not a new phenomenon, the number of children who are making the perilous journey alone has increased exponentially—6,775, on average, arrived between 2003—2011, and upwards of 90,000 are projected to arrive in Fiscal Year 2014. The Catholic Church has taken seriously the humanitarian and policy oriented aspects of this situation and is advocating on behalf of increased protections for migrant children and their families who are arriving in the United States. Recent testimony
by Bishop Mark Seitz provides a useful overview of the policy position taken by the bishops on this issue. Below are some additional resources that can be used to better understand the situation, as well as some of the efforts that the Church is involved in to help resolve it.
A recent webinar that focuses on the unaccompanied migrant children and conducted by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is now available for viewing. This webinar discusses why unaccompanied children are coming to the United States, where they are staying, what services the Church is providing, and how you can help. Panelists include experts on the root causes of migration from Central America and the emergency, social, and legal services available to these minor children.
You can download a copy of the full Unaccompanied Migrant Children Resource Kit or select individual pieces pertinent to your work from the list below:
Unaccompanied Migrant Children Backgrounder | en Español
This resource provides a helpful overview of the problem related to unaccompanied migrant children who have been arriving in increasingly larger numbers at our southwest border. Use it as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the situation.
Letter from Pope Francis
In a recent letter, Pope Francis spoke out on the issue of migrant children arriving at our southwest border, calling it a humanitarian emergency.
Church leadership on Unaccompanied Migrant Children | en Español
The pope is not the only Church leader to speak out on this issue; many of the bishops in the United States have commented on this situation as well. Use this resource as a guide to what some of them have had to say.
Providing Safe Passage to Unaccompanied Migrant Children from Central America
This resource provides an overview of the important way in which foster care and family reunification can play in addressing the issue of unaccompanied migrant children, and also highlights some of the ways in which you can help.
Catholic Social Teaching and Unaccompanied Migrant Children | en Español
Children have a special place in the moral tradition of the Church. Migrant children are a particularly vulnerable population who are at risk of exploitation and abuse. The Church's social teaching tradition can be used as lens to understand the duties that we have toward migrant children.
Providing Accompaniment for Migrant Families | en Español
In addition to children, migrant families are arriving large numbers at the southwest border, as many of them flee violence in their homeland. This resource provides an overview of the situation and highlights some of the important ways that we can accompany and support them on their journey. Building Capacity to Protect Unaccompanied and Separated Refugee Children
This resource provides a broad framework for understanding the ways in which the Church, civil society, and the government can help to protect and provide for migrant, and particularly refugee children. We need your help too. Would you please consider donating? All contributions to the National Catholic Fund for MRS-- Unaccompanied Children go directly to our work with and on behalf of unaccompanied children.