July 28, 2014

CWS Expanded Appeal: Unaccompanied Children Crisis

Appeal Code: 76-628-B
Revised Appeal Goal: $309,818

FUND SUPPORT URGENTLY NEEDED

Situation: As noted in our original July 17, 2014, appeal, the situation of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in the United States has become dire, requiring a robust humanitarian response.

The number of unaccompanied children entering the United States has grown to more than 57,000 so far in 2014, up from 27,884 children in 2013 and far fewer in years prior to that. More than 300 are reported to be crossing into the United States daily. Almost three-quarters of all immigrants from Central America are crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley on the Gulf coast of Texas.

A key element here is the result of an increasingly grim economic situation in the region, particularly in Honduras. Families have been separated as parents seek a better life away from home. More recently, increased insecurity and high levels of violence involving young people and children aged 7 to 14 years, has led to high levels of forced migration in younger age groups.

CWS Response: As noted in our original appeal, CWS is mounting a response to address the crisis utilizing a system modeled after our Caribbean Secondment Program.  CWS draws on full-time staff for its secondments, giving the program the capacity to identify, prepare and send Spanish-speaking attorneys and legal staff for short-term assignments with little notice.

The specifics of the CWS response in the United States include these components:

  • CWS is deploying Spanish-speaking legal staff and volunteers to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, interviewing children and their families and helping them understand how to apply for protection. With additional support, CWS also hopes to provide pro-bono legal services throughout the U.S. where children and families are sent after initial screenings.
  • CWS staff and volunteers are currently assisting with religious services and providing support in a detention facility in Artesia, N.M. With additional resources, we will establish a similar presence in other detention centers, matching federally funded services with private contributions.
  • Working with local partners, we are also helping provide food, water, clothing, diapers, medical care, housing and bus tickets for those people being left without any means of support.

Now, we are adding an additional component in Honduras itself: support for our partner Mennonite Social Action Commission, or Comission de Accion Social Menonita, known by the acronym CASM. (Our appeal will be likely be revised again in coming weeks with response information from additional partners in the region.)

The CWS-supported work of CASM focuses on providing humanitarian aid and assistance to returning migrant children and adolescents unable to be admitted to the United States – specifically, providing food, psycho-social care, healthcare and sanitation and hygiene services for some 1,000 children and teen-agers in a designated shelter – in the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

BUDGET

The original appeal was for $200,000, and included these U.S. response components:

Legal Services and Assistance - $120,000    
Religious Services and Pastoral Care - $35,000    
Hospitality at Drop-off Points - $25,000    
Advocacy/Grassroots Organizing - $20,000    

Total - $200,000

Now, the appeal goal is being raised to $309,818. This includes short-term response costs for CASM ($67,818) and the cost of a child protection officer/trainer at 50 percent for 12 months + travel and related costs at total of $42,000.

$67,818 + $42,000 = $109,818

TOTAL: $200,000 (US) + $109,818 (HONDURAS) = $309,818

Please note: Further appeal revisions are expected over coming weeks.

HOW TO HELP

Make a secure, online contribution here.

Contributions may also be sent by mail to: Church World Service, Attn. Unaccompanied Children Crisis (# 76-628-B), P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

CONTACT FOR THIS APPEAL

U.S. Response:

Erol Kekic
Director, CWS Immigration and Refugee Program
ekekic@cwsglobal.org

Will Haney
Associate Director for External Relations, CWS Immigration and Refugee Program
whaney@cwsglobal.org

Honduras Response:

Donna J. Derr
CWS DHA Director
dderr@cwsglobal.org

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.