Protection For Children and
Families Across Borders
The Alianza works on coordinated actions linking state and local initiatives with national and transnational advocacy. The intent is to shift public opinion and policy toward protection of refugee children and families from Central America and Mexico. In addition, the organization’s efforts seek solutions for the underlying conditions that continue to drive forced migration for so many people from Latin America. In the United States, the work strengthens, mobilizes, and creates conditions for Latino families, vulnerable children, and their communities that will ensure that they thrive.
In 2012, the Alianza began warning of an exodus of children and families fleeing violence in the Northern Triangle countries. In 2014, the world finally took note, when more than 130,000 children and families from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador sought refuge in the US. Pictures of dazed, frightened children in detention centers shocked the world. Sadly, after initial efforts to reunite children with family members, the primary reaction from Washington was harsh enforcement measures, including subsidizing massive deportations of children and families apprehended in Mexico. These measures did reduce the numbers for a time. But the conditions in the region: a toxic mix of gangs, organized crime, corruption and impunity, leave families with little choice. Stay and risk death or make a desperate bid for refuge in the United States.
Across the country, the Alianza’s immigrant-led, community-based members are on the front lines of confronting this crisis, particularly regarding the plight of vulnerable, refugee children who have been placed in detention centers. Agency efforts—fact- finding delegations, policymaker briefings, training, vigils, information campaigns, prayer day alliances—demonstrate power and unity on behalf of changing the extreme adversity they face. At the same time, members help families, providing desperately needed legal services, counseling, after-school care and other supports that allowed children to regain some measure of normalcy.