The US Customs and Border Patrol office estimates that more than 90,000 Unaccompanied Children will cross into the United States in 2014. This is almost three times the number apprehended in 2013. As of July 17th, 1,144 adults, families, and unaccompanied children were in Border Patrol Custody. An average of 305 additional unaccompanied children are apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol each day. Currently, there are 8,715 unaccompanied children in Office of Refugee Resettlement custody. This system is at 91% capacity.
Catholic Charities USA, local Catholic Charities agencies, and partners are committed to providing humanitarian assistance for this crisis. As of July 15th, 521 unaccompanied children remain in Border Patrol Custody. Though this number is significantly lower than in previous weeks, this could be due to a number of factors including a traditional drop in immigration in the hottest summer months.
Significant changes are required to reduce violence, eliminate gangs, drug lords, and human trafficking venues, and improve economic conditions throughout Central America. Until this occurs, large numbers of men, women, and children will continue to travel to the United States seeking a better quality of life. Catholic Charities believe that everyone has a right to food, water, shelter, and safety and will continue to provide migrant children and families that come to us with the respect, compassion, and care that they deserve.
The Work of Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities USA and several local Catholic Charities agencies along the southwestern border are actively responding to this immigration crisis. Catholic Charities USA views this as a manmade disaster and a humanitarian crisis. As such, CCUSA’s Disaster Response Operations division has been fully engaged in activities at both the National and local levels:
Catholic Charities Network Agencies:
Catholic Charities Network agencies are responding to the humanitarian needs of migrating families with children all along the border region. Beginning in McAllen, Texas at the beginning of June, 2014, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley was asked to open a center to meet assist migrating families on their journey to their sponsoring family member in the United States. The “ask” resulted in the creation of a respite or Welcome Center. Similar centers are now open in the following locations:
While each site may vary slightly, the services offered are, in general, the same. Specific services provided at each center include:
Catholic Charities agencies have provided humanitarian assistance to almost 9,000 men, women and children.
Data gathered from the Catholic Charities site in McAllen show that families are traveling to 38 states throughout the United States.
Partners: Catholic Charities agencies are utilizing local partners in their communities in an effort to provide a full range of services to immigrant families. These include legal immigration firms, local doctors and nurses, local churches of all faith denominations, food banks, and local businesses like Home Depot, Walmart, and community grocery stores. In addition to many local partners assisting Catholic Charities facilities across the country, the following national level partners are also providing services in collaboration with CCUSA:
Talking points from Catholic Charities USA: