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Unaccompanied Child Refugees from Central America

It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from “Secondly”…..Mourid Barghouti

Since 2006, I have worked with children and adolescents who come to the US out of fears and traumas similar to those faced by the children now at our borders, children seeking a fair hearing and requesting asylum here.

I know what their faces look like, and what their experiences have been. I have talked with children from four continents about experiences of torture, abuse, and trauma. I have helped them cope with their fears. I have been happy to see them gain asylum. I look forward to the citizens they will become. Several are in college or graduate school now. They have become contributing members of our society. We will all benefit.

Most important, the children I met have all depended on the kindness of strangers in many parts of their journey towards asylum. Ordinary Americans have helped them tremendously. I know how Americans can and do help children, once they understand their story. Once they meet them. Once they see their faces. Americans are not, by nature, mean and stingy towards children in need. So what is happening to make ordinary Americans so fearful of the children seeking help at our borders?

The manufactured “crisis” of the Central American youth coming to our border unaccompanied has a long history, and the media coverage of this situation starts with “Secondly.” Briefly, US intervention in the affairs of its neighbors has caused less stable and highly dangerous conditions, including chronic political instability, rebel forces and gangs. Many children, personally in grave danger, traumatized and terrified, have taken the huge risk of fleeing to the US border. Those that arrived alive and intact are now facing hatred, mostly whipped up by media misrepresentations that tell the story of the children starting at “Secondly.”

Dr. Alice LoCicero is a staff member at Boston Medical Center in the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology, an adjunct professor at Lesley University, and a volunteer psychologist at Community Legal Services and Counseling Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her book, “Why Good Kids Turn into Deadly Terrorists: Deconstructing the Accused Boston Marathon Bombers and Others Like Them” will be released at the end of July.

FRIST POSTED ON THE BLOG "ENGAGING PEACE" Thanks to Kathie Malley-Morrison.


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