This Week in Restoring Family Links News

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.

Migrants: This week, the Restoring Family Links Twitter shared many stories concerning unaccompanied minor migrants in the US as well as migration in general. Many of the stories discussing the current migrant crisis along the border focus on the rise of unaccompanied minor migrants as a phenomenon growing over the past four years. However, the United States has welcomed unaccompanied minor migrants since the opening of Ellis Island’s immigration center in 1892. And in a bit of history repeated, those unaccompanied minor migrants were not welcomed with open arms by the general public, but eventually, they gained US citizenship and have helped create the nation as we know it.

As there continues to be a debate about whether the unaccompanied minor migrants should receive refugee status, we also shared a story highlighting the differences between immigrant and refugee status. One major factor in deciding refugee status is whether the persons fled a conflict. In another story we posted, one journalist goes to Honduras – one of the main countries of origin for the current influx of unaccompanied minors – to investigate and report on the escalated violence there. While funding the response to the crisis continues to stall and decisions on refugee versus migrant status hang in the air, some migrants are already being deported to their country of origin.

And while the United States faces its own unique migration situations, the European Union is also experiencing an increase in migration. Since last year’s Lampedusa shipwreck tragedy where over 360 migrant died, Italy has increased its efforts to save the lives of migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea. Since October 2013, Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation has rescued 50,000 people. The economic burden of this program has led Italy to request that the European Union take over the operation; however, many European leaders have resisted increasing their response to the crisis.

Story Campaign 2014: The Restoring Family Links (RFL) Story Campaign 2014 has come to a close! Over the course of four months, RFL staff and volunteers across the US submitted over forty stories to promote the reconnecting families services of the Red Cross. From successful reconnection stories, to those about the outreach work done by chapters and the volunteers who make it all possible, the stories shared through the campaign do an excellent job of showing the important work of the American Red Cross to reconnect families separated by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Story Campaign. I hope that you continue to share your stories with the Restoring Family Links blog and work to support and grow the Restoring Family Links program.