WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2021 — Migrant children and families on the U.S.-Mexico border are facing uncertainty as they wait for their asylum claims to be processed.
Today, thousands of migrants are on the Mexican side of the border, where the Mexican Red Cross is providing aid and helping migrants speak with their loved ones back home. Many asylum seekers have been recently admitted to the U.S., where local organizations are working to safely house them as their cases make their way through the courts, which can be a lengthy process. It's important to note that those at risk of being persecuted in their own country have the right to seek asylum under international law.
A Safe Place to Stay for Unaccompanied Children
In response to the continued surge of young people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border without parents or guardians, the American Red Cross has been asked to provide temporary support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), to ensure these unaccompanied children have a safe, clean and comfortable place to stay after their difficult journeys north. Currently, we are onsite at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, to help provide comfort in addition to meeting the basic needs of unaccompanied children until they can connect with a relative or sponsor in the United States. We previously provided similar temporary support at emergency shelters in Midland and Dallas, Texas.
The Red Cross is fully committed to working with our government partners to help ensure appropriate humanitarian care is in place to support these vulnerable children as FEMA and HHS create additional infrastructure and operations capacity. When requested, our support may include providing small teams of highly experienced volunteers to help advise and train contracted staff at new facilities, or providing larger numbers of volunteers to support shelter operations.
Supporting Nonprofits at the U.S.-Mexico Border
In addition to providing support to our government partners, the Red Cross has provided relief supplies — such as cots, blankets, hygiene items, masks and hand sanitizer — for use by local nonprofits caring for migrants in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. The Red Cross has also provided phones to some organizations, which migrants can use to reconnect with family members back home to let them know they’re safe.
Humanitarian Commitment to Helping All People in Need
Red Cross and Red Crescent teams have long delivered humanitarian relief to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers around the world. The Red Cross is committed to delivering help to anyone in distress — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status — and to remain a neutral and impartial party, so we can access and help people when and where it is needed most.
The American Red Cross is guided by seven Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. As a humanitarian organization, these principles guide our actions every day, and compel us to alleviate human suffering in the U.S. and around the world. For more information about our work with refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, please visit: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/how-does-the-american-red-cross-help-migrants.html.