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.

Unaccompanied Minor Migrants: Communities and organizations across the US continue to respond to the unaccompanied minor migrant crisis. From advocates in Colorado mobilizing resources for minors coming to the state, to Maryland schools providing education for unaccompanied minors while they await immigration hearings, to individuals in North Carolina calling for empathic responses to the crisis, people across the US are helping ensure that the unaccompanied minor migrants receive the resources and support they need. While many State governors have objected to housing migrant youths, California governor, Jerry Brown issued statements this past week urging for the US to not use these children as scapegoats.

Meanwhile, as recess approaches for the House of Representatives, a bill addressing the unaccompanied minor migrant crisis has yet to pass. Stripping the original $3.7 billion requested by the Obama administration, the current bill would revise current anti-trafficking legislation and provide $659 million for border security. While the bill would speed-up the deportation process for unaccompanied minor migrants not from Mexico and Canada, a recent poll found that nearly 75% of Americans think that children should be provided more support in determining whether or not they are eligible to stay in the US.

Syria: Last week, Syria experienced its deadliest 2-day period since the beginning of the conflict. While increased levels of violence is bad news for all Syrians and the nation in general, many have urged that special attention be paid to how the conflict is affecting children. From traumatic experiences to lack of access to education, the children of Syria face many obstacles that will affect both them and Syria once the conflict comes to an end.

News on Syria this week also highlighted the innovation of Syrian refugees. Entrepreneurial Syrian refugees in Zaatari camp in Jordan are quickly changing the ways humanitarians think about providing aid and structure refugee camps.

Refugees – The Durable Solutions: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has outlined three durable solutions for refugees: repatriation, local integration, or resettlement. All of these options are meant to allow refugee populations to rebuild their lives while ensuring their safety and human dignity. Three stories from this week are great examples of these options.

Over the past couple weeks, Thai officials have made plans for repatriating thousands of Burmese refugees living along the Thailand-Burma border. While repatriation is the preferred durable solution for refugees, the UNHCR is responsible for ensuring that conditions in the country to which refugees are repatriating is safe for return and that the repatriation takes place voluntarily. UNHCR has urged Thailand to not send its Burmese refugees home as these conditions have largely not been met.

Another durable solution, local integration, allows refugees to become a part of the state to which they originally fled (the level of integration is always up to the nation where it is taking place). This past week, a large community of Togolese refugees living in Ghana opted for local integration. Local integration is an active project in Ghana for its refugee populations.

The final durable solution, resettlement, allows refugees to resettle in a third nation. The third nation is determined by the nation’s ability to provide services for refugees as well as its willingness to host refugee populations. Currently, the United States has the largest resettlement program in the world and since 1975, has resettled over 3 million refugees. While assistance for refugees in the US varies from state to state, robust programs have developed in many places, including Illinois, where in Chicago, refugees can build relationships with each other and their local community through gardening projects.