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April 22, 2022

Innovating Protection for Children Along the Migratory Route and at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Innovating Protection for Children Along the Migratory Route and at the U.S.-Mexico Border Video Player

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Children and families continue to travel between South and Central America, Mexico, and the United States in record numbers. Many experience abuse, exploitation, detention, deprivation, and discrimination along their migration journeys. International law underscores that all children have a right to safety and to access protection, seek asylum, and remain and reunite with family members. National, state, and local governments have the responsibility to protect children and families on the move, regardless of where they are from or where they are going. However, child welfare and protection systems—already fragile prior to the COVID-19 pandemic—have been overwhelmed and unable to respond to the scale of need. Civil society and community-based responses are key to building and sustaining protective factors for children and families along the migratory route, but these are also underfunded and overcapacity.

This conversation focused on how young people find protection along the migration corridor and at the border. What strategies do children on the move develop to increase their sense of safety and protection? What can we learn from these? How can policies and programs respond to the lived experiences of children on the move?

This event was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, the Institute for the Study of International Migration, and the Georgetown Americas Institute. It is part of the series Innovating Protection for Children on the Move Across the Americas, with webinars planned for March 30, April 22, and May 4.

This webinar was available in English and Spanish.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Gwendolen

Participants

Rodrigo Barraza

Rodrigo Barraza

Rodrigo Barraza is the co-director for the Americas at the Global Fund for Children. Barraza has worked with migrant children, youth, and women with GFC, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova, and Voces Mesoamericanas. Much of his work has focused on promoting healthy masculinity and advancing gender justice.

Dana Graber Ladek

Dana Graber Ladek

Dana Graber Ladek is chief of mission at the International Organization for Migration/Mexico. She has over 20 years of experience in humanitarian aid, development programming, program management, and multidisciplinary team management in coordination with government agencies, the United Nations, and national and international organizations.

Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J.

Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J.

Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville. She is one of the nation’s strongest champions for the most vulnerable and was named to the 2020 TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world. Most recently Pope Francis encouraged her and her team to continue their important work.

Gabriella Sanchez

Gabriella Sanchez

Gabriella Sanchez is a border control and migration enforcement scholar. Trained as a sociocultural anthropologist, she has written extensively about migration-related crimes, particularly migrant smuggling and human trafficking, drawing from her direct work with migrant communities in the Americas, North Africa and Europe. She lives on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ana Saiz

Ana Saiz

Ana Saiz is the director general of Sin Fronteras. She has been a professor of human rights at the University of New Mexico Law School, an advisor to the General Council of the National Electoral Institute on the issues of discrimination and human rights from 2014 to 2017, and deputy general director of legislation and public policy studies at the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination.

Ashley Feasley

Ashley Feasley

Ashley Feasley is the director for transborder security at the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House. Prior to the NSC, she served as the executive director for policy at U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security; she also worked in Migration and Refugee Services at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). Feasley has testified before Congress, published articles, and has appeared in the media on migration-related issues.

Elizabeth Ferris

Elizabeth Ferris

Elizabeth Ferris (moderator) is a research professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University. Ferris has extensive experience working on humanitarian issues, both at the operational level and in research institutions, most recently at Brookings. She has written many books and articles on refugee and humanitarian issues.