Labor union members and community leaders gathered Monday on the steps of the federal courthouse in Sacramento to raise awareness and seek donations for unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America crossing the United States border.
It is estimated that more than 52,000 Central American children have fled violence in their home countries and are entering the United States. That number is more than double last year’s total of 25,000, according to a report from the United Nations Refugee Agency.
These children are now being held at a variety of facilities that cannot meet many of their basic needs, said Michelle Pariset, organizer of the Capital Region Organizing Project, a coalition of congregations raising awareness for humanitarian issues.
CROP, officially formed in January, is a member of Gamaliel of California, which brings together organizations dedicated to social justice. The donations CROP gathered Monday will be sent to its San Diego-based sister organization, Justice Overcoming Boundaries, Pariset said.
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“We want people to understand that these children running away from their families is a result of our USA international policies,” said Lino Pedres, president of the Sacramento Labor Council, as he stood with roughly 50 others amid diapers, socks and other items to be sent to the children in Southern California. “We are mainly asking two things: one is the donations and the second is that people call or write letters to their representatives asking them to take care of the humanitarian issue.”
As thousands of children began to flood the U.S. border, officials began busing some children to Border Patrol stations in California. Earlier this month, angry protesters blocked buses in the Riverside County city of Murrieta.
Requested items, which include certain sealed food, toys, diapers and children’s socks and underwear, can be dropped off at the Sacramento Central Labor Council, at 2840 El Centro Road, Suite 111.