Migrant Children in New England

Learn how you can help migrant children in New England

Learn about our Family Reunification Program

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.

– Nov. 17, 2022 – The International Institute of New England (IINE) is expanding its program to aid unaccompanied children as they arrive in the United States through the U.S. asylum system following an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) announcement expanding program eligibility to all minors being reunited with relatives or sponsors. IINE’s program expansion will allow the organization to double the number of children in its care. 

Read about Francisco’s journey

Not long ago, we got to know a young man from El Salvador named Francisco. His soft-spoken and thoughtful demeanor gives no hint to the intimidation and violence he endured in his home country. In El Salvador, Francisco dreamed of attending college and tried to focus on his high school classes, but found himself targeted by local gangs.

“I studied, but it was very hard for me,” Francisco said. “I was being assaulted every day. I was constantly being threatened —- they demanded that my family pay them money.”

Meet Sofie Suter

A graduate of Boston College (BA) and UMass Boston (MA), Sofie Suter works in IINE’s Boston office as the Director of the Unaccompanied Children’s Program. Her job and department are unique because her clients are children, with whom she works for short, intensive period of time while they are first reunifying with their family members in the U.S.

“The most important part of my job is to make sure that when a child comes here, he or she is safe and understands his or her rights,” she said. “I work for the child.”

Personal Perspective from one American mom

I am normally a good sleeper, but last week’s New York Times article chronicling the horrific saga of an immigrant child ripped from his parents at the border kept me awake in frustrated, frightened wonder. I wonder how the U.S. government can ever possibly justify an immigration “process” that would keep a 4-month old child in foster care for more than six months while his traumatized parents tried to locate him. The broken asylum system, the lifelong impact on this young family, the dreadful sense that this is only one of many terrible similar instances… it is almost too much to bear.

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