Immigration Crisis Keeps Nonprofit Busy
The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has helped unaccompanied migrant children coming to the US for nearly 10 years. The Baltimore nonprofit is now ramping up its work with other organizations to find homes for the recent influx of immigrant children or to connect them with family living in the US. (Over 95% of them have family here.) Interim mission advancement VP Nancy Langer says it's also helping Americans interested in becoming foster parents for children who don’t have family here. The organization was started after World War II to help European refugees resettle in the US.
Five years ago, 5,000 unaccompanied children crossed the southern border annually. This year the number is already over 57,000. Because they’re fleeing violent situations, mainly in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the US doesn’t send them back. As the violence has increased, so has the number of children fleeing and their average age has dropped. The 100-employee organization is urging the Obama administration to focus on supporting legal representation for unaccompanied migrant children and family reunification.