Learning about Child Migrant Crisis
Pangea and Seattle International Foundation Join Forces to Inform a Concerned Community. Pangea members Gary Tabasinske and Katy Crouch co-sponsored with Seattle International Foundation a gathering recently to learn about the humanitarian crisis of children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador fleeing gang violence and poverty to seek asylum in the US.
Katy Crouch and Mauricio Vivero introduced the presentation with heartfelt references to their own experiences with migration: Katy referring to her two adopted children from Guatemala and Mauricio speaking of becoming a refugee from Cuba at an early age.
Jorge Barron, Executive Director of NW Immigrant Rights Project was the primary speaker. Jorge spoke of the difficulty of providing direct support to the children while they are in custody. The main need in Washington State is to build a response network for over 200 youth who need legal representation. According to the UN, more than 60% of the youth who have come to the US have a valid legal claim to stay but attorneys are needed to work on these high intensity cases to prove and document their stories.
The gathering at Katy and Gary’s house was a first attempt to begin a conversation and to ask people to put aside the complexity of immigration reform and to focus on what needs to be done to support the youth who are here in our state. Pangea’s Latin America POD supports grantees in Oaxaca and Guatemala who work on human rights, environmental justice, economic development, and educational opportunity. This latest wave of children migrating from Central America brings into focus the interconnectedness of problems. With Pangea we have the opportunity to learn about and address, in a small way, the root causes of children needing to leave their homeland in order to survive.