Spring is just around the corner. For many of our youth, spring is so much more than sunny and warm weather. As our LAYC youth start to shed their jackets, springtime is their slide into spring break, hunting for summer jobs, and more. For many high school seniors, “senioritis” has set in. Students have fewer classes; many are working to finish their community service hours and making some big decisions about college, financial aid, and life after high school.
But for now, the excitement of spring break is here: sleeping late, hanging out, and having fun. I admit I love spring break too.
As I plan for my own spring break college trips and vacation with my son and family, I am saddened by an article I read yesterday in the Washington Post entitled Mexican kids held for months as punishment for border-crossing. The article talks about Mexican children in detention shelters held for months at the border. Their fate varies, some are sent back while others are sent to U.S. facilities. Often questioned about criminal groups in Mexico, their lives may be at risk upon their return to the country. Sadly, there is no follow-up on their fate upon their return home.
I often write about the problems our LAYC youth face in the metropolitan area. Many face huge challenges in our region’s public school systems, with gangs, complex family issues, homelessness, and more. Yet despite the challenges, there exist opportunities we work to realize at LAYC.
I think about these Mexican kids held in detention – there is no spring break for them. Hopefully some of these youth will be re-united with family members, while others, with good immigration support, may be able to begin a new life in the United States. Yet too many will be forgotten, deported, and simply returned. But returned to what, where, and to whom? That is truly the question.
According to the Washington Office on Latino Affairs (WOLA), “child migration may increase this summer.” As always at LAYC, we stand committed to support all youth and children who need us.