Published by National Catholic Reporter, June 19, 2014
The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati first found out that children were crossing the U.S. border alone in the early 2000s, when their mission took three Central American girls into their El Paso home.
The girls crossed the border when Immigration and Naturalization Service handled “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government refers to them. INS separated out minors, but they were still put in handcuffs, foot shackles and a waist chain, Sr. Janet Gildea said. “They treated them just like criminals.”
Yessenia Vásquez, a Guatemalan teenager who stayed with the Sisters of Charity, was not unlike the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the Southwest border of the United States this year. She was escaping an abusive situation and feared for her life. Continue reading “How to treat unaccompanied immigrant children at center of policy debate”