At today’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation to urge San Francisco to aid in the humanitarian effort for the thousands of migrant children coming to the U.S., and San Francisco, to flee violence in Central America.
Campos is requesting a special hearing at the Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee. It’s his hope that the city both reaffirm its commitment as a Sanctuary City and that legal, medical, social and temporary housing services be made available for the migrant youth. Here’s an excerpt from a statement released by Campos’ office:
In the past year, an unprecedented number of minors have fled their home countries in Central America. It is projected that more than 60,000 minors will enter the United States to seek refuge during the 2014 fiscal year. Local community leaders estimate that in recent months, between 200-250 children have come to San Francisco each month to be reunified with family members or sponsors. It is expected that this number will rise by the end of the year.
“This is a humanitarian crisis that requires a compassionate and expedient response,” said Supervisor David Campos. “For decades, San Francisco has provided a safe haven for Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. We must reaffirm our role as a Sanctuary City by leveraging local resources to assist these vulnerable immigrant youth.”
The Campos announcement comes on the heels of a June protest staged outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs field office in San Francisco, during which activists demanded the release of children who had been detained.
El Tecolote reported on the demonstration and talked to one woman about the urgency of the issue:
Gazing down at her own 7-year-old son, Benjamin, Guillermina Castellanos couldn’t bear the thought.
“I asked myself, ‘How is it possible for a child, like my son over there, with his little hands to hold onto a train?’” Castellanos said, in reference to the more than 52,000 immigrant children who, in abandoning their homelands, have been caught and detained at the U.S. border since last October. “As a mother, that broke my heart.”
Another rally, in support of Campos’ resolution, is planned for Tuesday, July 15 at noon on the steps of City Hall.
For a national perspective on the issue, this New York Times video offers a quick explanation of the murky legislative prospects for dealing with the influx of migrant children:
There are many local efforts to deal with this ongoing issue. Stay tuned for a story we’re working on about how local non-profits are working to provide aid to the migrant children.