Supporting Unaccompanied Teen Migrants at the U.S. Southern Border

by | Apr 29, 2022 | News

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and Vie Thorgren & Restoring Connections are celebrating their 25th year. Animated by the spirit of Vincent de Paul, they seek “to walk with, reflect with, and be inclusive of perspectives from marginalized people, especially those in poverty. We are committed to ensuring soul care and retreat opportunities for those who typically do not have access to these opportunities.” (from their web page on formation programs for spiritual directors).

From their recent e-newsletter:

As of today we have surpassed 75,000 volunteer hours of relational service! Today we give thanks for Bob Guerra, an intern in our Formation for Soul Care program, and Roland Guerrero, a graduate of that program, for their volunteer service to unaccompanied teen migrants at the border.

We are also inspired by all our Soul Care/Spiritual Direction volunteers serving people in prison and re-entry, victims of trafficking, at-risk youth, unsheltered families and victims of abuse.

We are grateful to donors who support these efforts to physically, emotionally and spiritually companion those most in need.

Source: e-newsletter of Restoring Connections

In an article highlighting the work of Deacon Bob Guerra and Roland Guerrero, the Associated Press reports:

Since October, the Border Patrol has encountered an average of more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors a month, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data… When unaccompanied minors are apprehended or turn themselves in to U.S. officials after crossing the border without authorization, they are sheltered in facilities managed by the Department of Health and Human Services until the government vets a family member or sponsor to ensure they can be safely released.

Under the past three U.S. administrations, especially when the number of minors crossing the border surges suddenly and emergency intake shelters like that at Fort Bliss are hastily arranged, controversies have erupted over the conditions and duration of the youths’ stay at these facilities, where media access is tightly restricted.

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