Volunteer To Help Immigrant Children Affected By Title 42

Words by Abigail Vela

Imagine traveling alone for thousands of miles from Central America to the borderlands. You’re alone, displaced from your country, family, and belongings. And you’re only a child. Unfortunately, this is the reality for unaccompanied children crossing the US-Mexico border. Recent data shows an increase in unaccompanied children that US Border Patrol apprehended— from 33,239 in 2020, 146,925 in 2021, and 152,057 in 2022.

 

The increase in numbers correlates with the implementation of Title 42 in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While Title 42 was created to prevent the introduction of diseases, the Trump administration invoked it to disguise their true intentions; increasing border reinforcements, regulating border crossings, preventing asylum to asylum-seeking immigrants, and expulsions.

 

This month, President Biden announced the expansion of Title 42, which will deny asylum to immigrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights’ Senior Policy Analyst at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, Mary Miller Flowers, stated in a Press Release:

When President Biden first took office, he pledged to restore asylum, to protect immigrant children and families, and to remedy the tragedies of family separation. Many of these promises remain unfulfilled…. Title 42 returns children and their families to known danger….

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights aims to protect and serve the rights and interests of immigrant children. According to Tania Torres, the Supervising Social Worker for their Harlingen office, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights helps “uplift the voices of immigrant children who are alone in this country.” Torres and other social workers help sign up volunteers through their Child Advocate Program. According to Managing Attorney Miriam Aguayo, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights receives over 200 child referrals a month but has about 25 Child Advocate volunteers a month. She stresses, “If we had more volunteers, we’d be able to appoint to more cases and serve at a wider scale.”

This Saturday, March 4th, and Sunday, March 5th, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights’ Harlingen office is hosting a Child Advocate Training Session. Be sure to fill out the Volunteer Form if you’re interested in advocating for the rights of immigrant children.

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