As concerns about the new crown virus ease, US interest in raising immigrant children surges | Immigration News

As concerns about the new crown virus ease, US interest in raising immigrant children surges | Immigration News


as a Record number Of children who fled violence from Central America and crossed the Mexican border alone this spring, most were sent to Large emergency shelter The Biden administration quickly opened up US military bases, convention centers, and open-air markets.

Transitional foster families, where the family gets permission for care Migrant children, Widely regarded as the best choice Children in U.S. custody, Especially for minors who have been traumatized, very young, pregnant or teenage parents and need extra emotional support.

Providers said that in recent months, as Americans have been vaccinated against the coronavirus and the restrictions on daily life related to the virus have been lifted, interest in raising immigrant children has been booming. They urged the government to transfer more children to foster families.

By May, more than 22,000 immigrant children were detained by the U.S. government because the U.S. was struggling to deal with the largest number of immigrants reaching its southern border in 21 years.

Chris and Kristen Umphlett and their children (from left), Derek 7, Elsie, 3, Kyria, 9 and Hudson, 5, at their home in East Lansing, Michigan, USA [Al Goldis/AP Photo]

Chris Umphlett and his family hosted a 12-year-old girl from Honduras at their home in Michigan for a month, while US officials contacted and censored her mother who lives in Texas. When she arrived across the Mexican border alone, she barely said a word.

The couple lived in East Lansing with their four young children. They invited her to walk and ride a bicycle, and watched a Disney movie with Spanish subtitles. A Honduran woman from their church made a home-cooked Honduran meal, including meat and red beans and tres leches cake, and she laughed.

“I think she might not be super friendly when she first came to the United States, it might be confusing,” Umphlett, 37, works for a software company. “We tried to give her a better experience.”

Although not enough families have obtained permission to receive thousands of children U.S. regulationAdvocates say that families can accommodate many children under the age of 12 and other disadvantaged youths, such as pregnant teenagers, and now the government does not have a licensed shelter. Last week, at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, nearly 1,400 minors lived there, including about 300 children under the age of 12.

Psychological and emotional risk hurt According to a document submitted by the Federal Court on June 22, the longer the children stay in the shelter, the supervision of the care of minors detained in the United States as part of a long-term court settlement.

Court documents show that as of the end of May, there were about 500 temporary foster care beds unoccupied, of which children aged 5 and 6 stayed in the shelter for more than a month.

“What a child gets in a shelter can never be compared to the love of the parent who takes care of the child,” said Kayla Park of Samaritas, a provider that connects the Umphlett family with immigrant children. “They may hide them in the bed at night, or maybe the children at home play with them. This kind of interpersonal interaction is very necessary, and it cannot be replicated in the shelter.”

Families of immigrants from Ecuador crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States in Rome, Texas, rested on the riverbank and waited for the escort of the U.S. Border Patrol [Go Nakamura/Reuters]

President Joe Biden’s government stated that this is not simply a matter of filling up the beds. The Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, if someone tests positive for the coronavirus, some brothers and sisters may have to go to shelters to stay together or have space for isolation, so vacant beds are needed to deal with the situation Xavier Becerra Zhou told reporters.

After visiting a shelter for 800 children at Fort Bliss Army Base near El Paso, Texas, Becerra said when asked about vacant licensed beds, “Try to fully maximize your space. Will be hit.”

Providers agreed that foster care is more complicated for placement because age and gender must be considered, especially in families where migrant children may share rooms with family children. For example, in Umphletts, they only accept 12-year-olds and 12-year-olds. girl. younger.

The pandemic further restricted the development of things. Many families do not want to bring their children directly from the border because they are afraid of exposure to the coronavirus.

Other families, such as Umphlett, are not able to accept someone while working from home during virtual learning with their children, and they did not accept anyone until March of this year.

But its director, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, said that providers such as the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Center have seen a significant increase in families interested in raising immigrant children, which provides an opportunity that should be seized.

“I really believe that if we invest and focus on building this network of potential foster parents, these families can and should be a mid- to long-term solution so that we won’t have to rely on influx of facilities in the future,” she said.

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