There are significant numbers of unaccompanied child refugees crossing the border and being taken into U.S. Immigration custody. The Children’s Center maintains an active interest in developing outreach, information and referral services for older youth refugees on the Mexican side of the U.S. – Mexico border. At this time, planning for on-the-ground services for older refugee youth is postponed due to COVID and better direction on immigration policy. We await clear policy direction on health and immigration before proceeding.
Matamoros, Mexico, across the U. S. – Mexican border, is a major Mexican city adjacent to and contiguous to the Rio Grande Valley Region of Texas, served by The Children’s Center, Inc. The Children’s Center, Inc. in partnership with NGOs in Mexico are working to better understand the circumstances and numbers of unaccompanied youth. This work will support consideration for establishing an outreach presence in Matamoros. Partnership with NGOs in Mexico began two years ago and has culminated in an agreement to study the needs. Work on the study began in November of 2020. Plans call for gathering information in refugee camps, shelters, and the streets as is possible. Results of progress will be updated and shared.
Reynosa, Mexico, across the U. S. – Mexican border, is a major Mexican city adjacent to and contiguous to the Rio Grande Valley Region of Texas, served by The Children’s Center, Inc. In Reynosa Children’s Center representatives have met with homeless youth and families amassed along the Mexican side of the border. Youth from Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba spoke of their fright and difficult living conditions while awaiting entry to the United States for asylum.
A Cuban youth, fifteen years of age, spoke of constantly running from Mexican gang members who were attempting to assault him. He displayed open wounds from jumping barbed wire fences.
A fourteen-year-old Guatemalan youth was awaiting his sister to be released from a local hospital where she was experiencing complications from childbirth. He was alone and afraid for her safety and his own.
Upon completion of the study for the need for outreach services in Reynosa, efforts will be made to understand the circumstances and numbers of unaccompanied youth in Reynosa.
The Children’s Center, Inc. will soon celebrate 145 years servicing a trauma-focused continuum of caring, providing safety, housing, and mentoring for children, youth and families, who are survivors of abandonment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It serves the Texas Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mexico and provides prevention and intervention services through outreach in Mexico and Central America.