LOS ANGELES – Central American youths who arrived in the United States as undocumented migrants and spent time in immigration detention centers launched an initiative to write letters of support to migrant children who are currently being detained by the federal government.
Luz Gallegos, director of community programs for TODEC (Training Occupational Development Educating Communities) Legal Center, based in Southern California’s Riverside County, told EFE that the idea to write letters to children who were separated from their parents at the border emerged a month ago, when news outlets began to report on the impacts of Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
The more than 200 youths affiliated with TODEC were enthusiastic about expressing their support to the nearly 3,000 separated children.
One of those youths, a Honduran girl who was recently adopted by an American family, said that she was 16 when she traveled alone from Central America to the United States.
After entering the US without papers, she was detained by immigration authorities for nine months along with other unaccompanied minors at a shelter in Texas, where she felt “completely abandoned.”
“If I would have received a letter I would have felt very happy ... But during the time I was locked up I didn’t receive anything,” the girl said, who is now helping write letters “filled with affection.”
Mexican immigrant Oralia Juarez said that her four US-born children were writing letters to the separated children to let them know that many people are thinking about them and that “even other children are expressing their support,” which will “certainly have a positive effect.”
Two weeks ago, Gallegos headed a delegation that delivered the first 2,000 letters to a detention center for immigrant children in San Diego.
By July 12, they had gathered 2,000 more letters that were delivered to children detained in Casa Padre, Texas.