A group of Los Angeles City Council members have announced their introduction of a citywide resolution last Thursday that calls for the immediate support and humane treatment of unaccompanied immigrant minors.
Standing with a coalition of Central American community organizations, council members Gil Cedillo, 1st District, Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, Nury Martinez, 6th District and Curren Price, 9th District, expressed their support for ensuring that all minors receive a fair immigration hearing and consideration refugee status.
The resolution officially places the city’s position on its Federal Legislative Agenda and denounces any efforts to repeal or reverse the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was created to ensure the safety and legal protection of unaccompanied children.
“While countries have borders, our compassion for innocent children should have no boundaries,” O’Farrell said. “We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands, and when it comes to the situation with unaccompanied minors at our borders, we need the federal government to lead by example and provide immediate support for these innocent lives.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees interviewed hundreds of unaccompanied minors and found that extreme poverty, unemployment, trauma and the lack of state protection from gangs pushed them to flee their home countries.
The organization also found that some two-thirds of the incoming children would qualify for international protections as a result of the violence and abuse they were subjected to in their home countries. Many of these children are in search of nationalized relatives, many of whom live in the greater Los Angeles region, which currently has some of the highest concentrations of Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan expatriates in the country.
A network of culturally competent community organizations and service providers from the Los Angeles area have been devoting their expertise and resources to working with the unaccompanied minors and their families in recent weeks. The council members were joined by community representatives from these key groups last Thursday and expressed their desire to find ways to support their efforts in providing critical care and services to incoming children.
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