Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.
Unaccompanied Minors: This year it is estimated that over 60,000 (and likely near 70,000) unaccompanied minor migrants will have immigrated to the US. While this is not the first time this year that the Restoring Family Links blog or Twitter have highlighted this growing humanitarian emergency, this past week, the topic drew enormous attention as the federal government called the situation a humanitarian crisis and appealed for funding to address the needs of these migrants. While much of the news discussed the flaws of the immigration system, it remains crucial to also focus on the stories of the children themselves. Tuesday, we highlighted the story of Adrian, who was forced by traffickers to carry marijuana into the US after he had endured the difficult journey from Guatemala to the US-Mexico border. More broadly, an NPR interview discusses the dangers faced by unaccompanied migrants as they navigate the migratory routes through Mexico.
The US federal government isn’t the only organization looking to address the emergency. The Honduran government opened a consulate along the US-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas to help with the increasing numbers of unaccompanied minors leaving their country for the US. Other states are also helping Texas manage its migrant influx. The state of Arizona has begun accepting busses migrant families from Texas. While this program has been criticized by both the government and immigration activists, Arizona’s help comes at a time when the number of migrants entering the US through Arizona has begun to decrease.
Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service has begun a campaign to show support for a humanitarian response to the unaccompanied minor migrant crisis. To learn more about their campaign, please click here. You can show your support on Twitter by using #ActofLove.
South Sudan: Last month was the most peaceful month South Sudan has witnessed since the outbreak of the current conflict last December. Unfortunately, violence has increased this week and negotiations that were supposed to resume have been delayed. In their place, there will be a symposium between government, rebel, religious, and civil society leaders to discuss building peace in the nation. While maintaining the ceasefire and reaching an agreement are both crucial for ending the 6-month old conflict, engaging religious and civil society leaders will hopefully result in building peace throughout South Sudanese society. Despite continued fighting and the onset of the rainy season, the UN has committed to delivering humanitarian food aid to refugees and internally displaced persons in the nation on-time this month. On a more positive note, the non-governmental organization, Save the Children, was recently able to reunite a father with his family after they were separated when fighting broke out near their home. Also, the United States Institute of Peace is helping develop a radio program to promote inter-ethnic and religious peace.
International Red Cross News: The Restoring Family Links blog and Twitter were happy to share several reconnecting family stories this week. First, from the DRC and Uganda, the ICRC and Red Cross National Societies there were able to reunite nineteen children with their families after they had been separated because of violence in eastern DRC. Then, the Hong Kong Red Cross was able to reunite a daughter and mother after they had been separated for over fifty years! For more on the Restoring Family Links program in general, the Coordinator of the RFL program at the Canadian Red Cross conducted a wonderful interview discussing the historical and current impact of the service. A Restoring Family Links caseworker for the ICRC Pakistan delegation also shared their passion for the program. Outside of RFL, the Ukrainian Red Cross, Russian Red Cross, and the ICRC issued a joint statement calling for all parties of the current crisis in Ukraine to respect the emblem of the Red Cross and adhere to international humanitarian law.