A 12-year old boy buries his face against his father as he mourns the death of his brother in El Salvador.

Violence, gangs and crippling poverty have driven families like 12-year old Jose*'s to seek safety in the U.S.

How to Help Migrant Children at the U.S. Southern Border

All children deserve to be protected from harm. The health of our children is only possible when each and every one is protected. And yet, far too many children and families have had their rights violated while seeking asylum in the United States. 

Families and unaccompanied children crossing the border must be protected and processed safely in the United States. Being forced to remain in camps and shelters in Mexico puts already vulnerable families at even greater risk.

Here are three ways that you can get involved in the call to help vulnerable children at the U.S. Southern Border:

1. Learn About Why Migrant Children are Seeking Asylum

During the first two months of 2021 alone, 15,000 migrant children were taken into border authority custody after crossing the southern border. This number continues to grow dramatically by the day. 

There is not one specific reason why migrant children and families choose to flee their homes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and seek asylum in the U.S. Instead, it involves a complex mix of social and economic factors. Violence, brutal gangs and entrenched poverty are among the top reasons migrants cite for seeking safety and protection. 

Latin America has the highest child homicide rates in the world, nearly four times the global average.[i]

The past year was also marked by two devastating hurricanes, Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota. These historic hurricanes ravaged Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

2. Speak Up About the Treatment of Migrant Children Migrating from Central America

As children’s rights continue to be violated at the border, Save the Children cannot and will not remain silent.

In recent weeks, more than 5,000 migrant children were detained in short-term Border Patrol facilities on the southern border, overwhelming the system and resulting in 3,000 children being held longer than the 72 hours allowed by law. Border Patrol facilities operated by law enforcement authorities are no place for a child. Facilities are overcrowded, with children forced to sleep on cold floors and without access to hygiene and basic support services, all of which make them dangerous for children.

Save the Children is helping meet the urgent needs of children and families by providing cash and critical supplies to a network of more than 35 shelters and social service agencies, and we are advocating for children’s rights, humane treatment and care.  

You can join us.

Together with our advocacy partner, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), we have mobilized our advocates to write more than half-a-million messages to the Administration and Congress, speaking out against violations of children’s rights at the border.  Our work will continue as long as children’s rights aren’t fully realized or protected.

3. Support Our Work for Migrant Children at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Save the Children does not choose sides – we choose children and will always work to uphold and protect their rights in any crisis or circumstance. Here are 3 ways you can help migrant children and families at the U.S. Southern Border:

  1. Donate to the U.S. Border Crisis Children’s Relief Fund: Your donation today will help us meet the urgent needs of children and families.  
  2. Comfort Children at the U.S. Border: Comfort kits, including warm blankets, hygiene supplies and backpacks with school materials help these children feel safe and calm emotional distress, while also helping them prepare for and look forward to returning to school.
  3. Sponsor a Child In El Salvador: Since 1980, Save the Children in El Salvador has worked with local communities and organizations to design Sponsorship programs for kids. Targeted to help children from early childhood to early adulthood, our programs work to make a healthy and safe environment where children can learn and grow.


[i] 2020 Global Childhood Report


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