Sometimes migrant families travel to the U.S. border together, but very often children travel alone and cross the U.S. border in search of safety and reunification with a family member in the U.S.
Since 2011, the International Institute of New England has helped unaccompanied minor children by providing the support and resources they need to reunify with loved ones in the United States.
Our program delivers essential services to children and teenagers who are referred to us by immigration authorities after they have been detained and sheltered by the U.S. government under federal policy guidelines.
As the world now knows, children apprehended at the southern border or in the course of an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid are placed into federal detention. Those who are able to reunify with family in New England are often referred to IINE and are released into the care of a sponsor, usually a family member, while their legal status in the U.S. is clarified. In addition to certifying the safety and suitability of the U.S. sponsor’s home, IINE provides support to children and teens during this transition period by offering critical legal aid and linking the children and their sponsors to community resources.
IINE’s skilled case managers advocate for each child as they navigate federal reunification guidelines, and are responsible for visiting the child in his/her new home in the U.S. IINE staff provide the reunited family with referrals to attorneys, schools, libraries, museums, health facilities, food banks, crisis hotlines, and other resources tailored both to the family’s local community and any needs or interests that may have been identified. Depending on the individual situation, a case manager may also help develop a stress management plan with the child, work out a family safety plan with both the child and the sponsor, and discuss family support strategies with the sponsor.
Children often travel 2,500 miles from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras to the U.S. border because of violence, deprivation, and abuse they encounter in their home country. IINE works with children ages 2-18 to build a new life in America that allows for safety, resources and a more peaceful future.
Key facts about how our locally-based program helps reunite separated families from Central America.
- IINE provides a local response to the ongoing and escalating family separation crisis at the border.
- Separation of families at the border is a new and controversial federal tactic; for years the U.S. has funded providers such as IINE to support professional services for displaced and reunifying children in need of international protection.
- IINE services are limited only by funding. Federal funds do not fully cover even two IINE social workers who provide critical child and family focused support. We are in need of additional and sustainable private funding to join a recent gift from the Cabot Foundation to support our growing family and minor caseloads.
- IINE works with Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) families with children ages 2-18 who have migrated to the U.S. fleeing life-threatening experiences of violence, deprivation and abuse perpetrated mainly by organized armed criminal actors.
- IINE is an independent non-profit organization that provides the best of U.S. federally funded programming for family support and reunification support services.
- Many children crossing into the U.S. are already separated from their parents and are fleeing their native countries unaccompanied. IINE provides professional placement assessment to ensure safe reunification and follow up case management services delivered by licensed social workers who support children reunifying with caregivers.
- IINE’s professional family reunification services includes home safety assessment and the post-release services of safety planning, connection to health care, connection to therapy and trauma resources, enrollment in school and referral to family support resources.