On January 14, 2014, the American Red Cross hosted a migration conference, Humanitarian Action across Border: Migration in the Americas. The conference brought together leading advocates, service providers, and government representatives to discuss key migration topics including advocacy issues, unaccompanied children, missing migrants, and alternatives to detention. The entire event was recorded and will be posted to the Restoring Family Links Blog in a four part series.
Part 1 includes the opening remarks by National Public Radio's Armando Trull, the Senior Vice President of International Operations at the American Red Cross, Harold Brooks, and the Head of the ICRC Delegation in Washington, DC, François Stamm. These remarks are followed Victoria Rietig's keynote presentation on migration trends globally and regionally within the Americas. The final portion of the video is the panel on the protection needs of unaccompanied children with Stacie Blake from US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; Jessica Jones from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services; Luis Gerardo Rivera from Casa Alianza; and Leslie Velez from UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Victoria's presentation highlights three trends in migration: 1) the global growth in the number of asylum seekers and the challenges this presents; 2) the struggle balancing policies of protection with immigration enforcement; and 3) Mexico's new role as a migration manager in the Americas. All these trends impact the lives and safety of migrants seeking safety and opportunity in other nations throughout the Americas, and are crucial to keep in mind when engaging with the topics addressed throughout the conference.
The following panel looks at the issue of unaccompanied children from the work of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the region to that of Casa Alianza providing protection for children in Honduras, and the work of organizations in the US to provide assistance to children now living in the United States. This panel provides a great overview to the issue by giving insights into the conditions children fled, to the reasons children made the journey on their own, to the needs they faced once they arrived in US. Stacie Blake from US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants also provided an overview of the new in-country processing program for children seeking refuge in the US who are still in either Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras.
Enjoy the following video. I hope that you join in the conversation!