Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Activists Call for Connecticut to Welcome Migrant Children

In an unprecedented effort to find locations in Connecticut to house unaccompanied migrant children from Latin America, immigrant rights groups have called on the Governor and all elected officials for urgent action.

Mayors in the state's three major cities and some suburbs are collaborating to insure that Connecticut retains it's welcome to all residents regardless of immigration states during the current humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children seeking refugee status.

Criticism was sharp against Governor Dannel Malloy for not finding other alternatives to the Southbury Training Center which was deemed uninhabitable after federal officials requested the children be housed there. The Governor's office has engaged the Department of Children and Families to locate and reunite any of the children with relatives in Connecticut.

Republican candidates for Governor hypocritically joined in the criticism against Malloy, despite the fact that the Republican Party is responsible for blocking federal immigration reform and opposed progressive state bills which were signed by Malloy extending drivers' licenses and in-state tuition rates irregardless of immigration status.

A rally in front of the former Gateway Community College highlighted the fact that this and similar facilities should be considered by the Governor to house the children on an emergency basis.

The courage and desperation of the children was shown during the rally as several youth from Guatemala told about the violence and poverty that caused them to migrate here in search of peace. With the aid of Unidad Latina en Accion they were reunited with their families in New Haven. One mother says she lives in terror of being deported back to those dangerous conditions.

Saying that U.S. trade and foreign policies are responsible for the devastating conditions in Latin America which are forcing the children to leave their homelands, Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance spokesman Alok Bhatt argued this adds to the responsibility to embrace the children.

In an earlier press conference CIRA also called on the Governor to intervene regarding "the continued practice of detaining contributing members of our communities, despite the policies that have been recently enacted (regarding Secure Communities). There is a crisis in the immigrant community affecting many residents in Connecticut and we urge that he act now on both fronts."