How Foster Families Are Stepping Up to House Unaccompanied Children Arriving at the U.S.-Mexico Border

 In Telling a Better Story

March 23, 2021

Many evangelicals are watching with concerns the reports of unacceptable conditions for unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter to President Biden last week expressing concerns about this situation and suggesting practical policy solutions to resolve the humanitarian crisis. But while the government has an important role to play, so does the church, including in providing foster families for those children who may need them temporarily. One of the Evangelical Immigration Table’s leadership organizations, Bethany Christian Services, partners with the federal government to coordinate this care in many communities. This except from a Time magazine article by Jasmine Aguilera describes one family’s experience. You can read the full story here.

Jay and Leslie, a couple who live in the Philadelphia area, have so far fostered four children this year, three boys and one girl, all of them migrants who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border recently without their parents. The children are among the thousands who have showed up at the border since January fleeing violence, poverty or natural disaster in their home countries, hoping to reunite with loved ones in the U.S.

The uptick of unaccompanied children presenting themselves at the border has proven a challenge not only for the Biden Administration, but also for the dozens of nonprofit organizations that manage the transfer of children from the border and into temporary foster care until the child can be reunited with a vetted sponsor in the U.S. Even though influxes of unaccompanied children arriving at the border is not a new phenomena, for most of 2020, the Trump Administration did not permit them to enter the U.S., a policy that led many of the nonprofit organizations running programs to foster these children to either cut staff or the number of beds available to shelter children. COVID-19 also led to further restrictions, including cutting bed space to allow for social distancing. Now as thousands of children—a mix of newly arrived ones and some who were turned away in 2020—present themselves to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies are scrambling to meet the need. . .”

Continue reading Jay and Leslie’s story here.

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