An unaccompanied minor can be defined as under 18 who lacks legal immigration status and has no parent or legal guardian in the United States who can provide care and physical custody. These children are not always alone when they enter the country. Others are abandoned by smugglers or fellow migrants at the border; some arrive with family members and are separated at the border. According to internal forecasts, the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors crossing the US border illegally will increase significantly for at least two months.
Uncontrolled violence in home nations, corruption, impunity, family-based violence, a lack of a caregiver, gender-based damage, gang-related violence, economic need, and natural catastrophes are common reasons for migrant children at the border. Security, family reunification, education, more outstanding standards of life, and career opportunities in other nations can influence where and when children migrate. Children rarely decide to relocate for a single cause. There are usually a lot of variables at play, and the relevance of each one can shift over time. Children displaced from their homes due to conflicts they did not cause suffer threats such as human trafficking, kidnapping, the risk of drowning while crossing the sea, malnutrition, sexual violence, and even murder. Throughout their trips, children, particularly those who travel alone or become separated from their families, are vulnerable to various forms of violence and exploitation. For some, the hazards do not end when they arrive at their destinations. When migrant children reach their destination countries, they are disproportionately affected by poverty and isolation.
After arriving at a port of entry or crossing the border, children are frequently apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection officials and sent to a temporary holding facility. Custom and border protection agents examine the children and assess whether they fulfill the legal description of an unaccompanied minor. Non-parent caregivers or family members who may accompany a child are not included in this definition. Unaccompanied children must be transported to an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelter within 72 hours, but they are frequently held for longer. The refugee resettlement office is entrusted with ensuring the safety and well-being of unaccompanied minors and matching them with a competent sponsor to care for them while they are awaiting removal proceedings.
ORR shelters are designed to provide a safe environment for children to meet their basic needs. At the same time, the government searches for a suitable family member to sponsor the unaccompanied kid during their immigration process. Shelters, transitional foster care, and secure and residential treatment programs are examples of children’s ORR settings. When a kid arrives at an ORR shelter, services such as health and education, case management, recreation, and know your rights presentations and legal screenings should be offered. Within the United States, most children can reunite with a sponsor, such as a parent, a family member, or a close friend. Whether a child is held at an ORR shelter or living in the community, their legal immigration processes continue.
Ways to help children at the border
- Becoming a foster care parent.
There are various requirements for becoming a foster parent. They include:
- Attend a training session.
- Complete a 20- to 30-hour foster parent training program and a full background check (for child abuse and criminal activity) and fingerprinting.
- A thorough house inspection is performed to ensure the protection of children.
- Certification in first aid.
- Take part in a home study to see if you’re ready to foster.
Roles of a foster care parent include:
- Provide a secure, stable, and nurturing environment.
- Be open to different parenting techniques and willing to learn new ones.
- Keep your expectations of the individual in check.
- Be devoted to dealing with the individual, especially if they exhibit problematic behaviors.
- Treat the person as a member of your family, making sure they go to school, participate in recreational and cultural events, and keep their medical appointments.
- Accept the person for who they are and work with them to achieve their full potential.
- We donate to organizations such as UNICEF, LIRS, and many others.
A contribution is a selfless act. The funding directly assists organizations in promptly reuniting children with their families and ensuring that they have all they need to start a new life in the United States. The funding allows them to safeguard and welcome these children while also providing essential services such as educational opportunities, medical and mental health treatments, and legal assistance. The following are some of the advantages of supporting these border-related organizations:
- Maintenance payments for foster children (room, board, and clothing)
- Medical aid is available.
- Expenses associated with proving legal liability are covered.
- Vouchers for extended foster care educational training
- Advocating for the migrants to the government representatives.
Advocacy shows our country’s leaders that the communities they represent support migrants and refugees. The United States Citizenship Act of 2021 was just introduced. The approach tackles essential aspects of immigration law that haven’t been touched on in decades. It enhances the family reunification process by eliminating visa backlogs and offering a path to earned citizenship, among other things. By resuming the Central American Minors (CAM) program, this bill would assist and protect unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the United States. This program permits Central American children to petition for reunification with their parents or relatives who have legal status in the United States from their home country, avoiding the long and arduous travel to the border.
- They are praying for migrant children and their families.
Faith is crucial in finding hope through difficult circumstances. Migrant children and families are God’s children, and it is our moral duty to welcome those in need and pray for them during the challenging process.
- They are educating the community about the immigration system.
Share resources with friends, family, congregations, and community members to assist migrant children and raise awareness of the issues they face and how we can help them.
In conclusion, migrant children at the border are in dire need of help. Various organizations are working together to help the children. Shelters are also available to hold the children temporarily.
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.