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First-Hand Look into How Separated Immigrant Children Are Faring in NY

Posted on June 22, 2018 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

“No Apparent Plan for Reunification”

After President Trump’s announcement this week that his administration will stop separating immigrant children from their families and news trickles out about possible detention instead of hundreds of thousands of families on military facilities, concern shifts to the 2,342 already separated and perhaps misplaced children, hundreds of whom are said to now reside in New York shelters.

Catholic Charities NY staff meets with every single child placed in federal custody in the state of New York.  We witness firsthand their tragedy and trauma.  And we struggle, despite road blocks, to represent and reunite children with their moms and dads.

It is not easy.

“I don’t believe there is a plan for reunifying children that are now in federal custody with the parents with whom they entered the United States but were subsequently separated,” Catholic Charities NY Unaccompanied Minors Attorney Sofia Linarte says in this just-aired NY1 television interview.

As a leading provider of immigrant and refugee services in New York, Catholic Charities’ impact is huge.

In the past, there has been a federal process Catholic Charities followed to unite minors who entered the United States alone with family members and responsible adult friends able to care for the minors when released from federal custody.

But federal policy to separate children arriving at U.S. borders from willing parents longing to care for them and instead flying them to anonymous shelters across the country “is all new,” Ms. Linarte says. 

“This is absolutely unchartered waters.”

Catholic Charities stands in solidarity with these separated immigrant children.

Joining Ms. Linarte on the program, private immigration attorney and former U.S. army officer Jose Xavier Orochena spoke about the frustration and fear of a mom he represents.  Homeland Security detained her in Arizona while sending her three children to a shelter in the Bronx.

Mr. Orochena said that when he contacts federal authorities to get information about the children for their worried mom.

“I cannot get any traction; I cannot get anywhere.”

Despite having the correct spelling of the children’s names, their birth certificates and alien numbers assigned the children by Homeland Security, Mr. Orochena said he cannot get any information confirming where the children have been placed.

“Where do they sleep at night” he asked, echoing their mother’s concerns.  “What do they eat?”

Concerned about separated children, people have begun protesting in front of airports and shelters.  But these protests, however well intentioned, Ms. Linarte said, frightens the children.

Those who want to help are instead urged to support Catholic Charities’ work providing services and representation to preserve separated immigrant children’s safety and security.

Join us.

Please support our work with separated immigrant children