HF’s Refugee Minors Program Closes Season at Yankee Stadium
The unaccompanied immigrant crisis that riveted the nation in 2014 isn’t over. After dropping by half between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors apprehended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has skyrocketed this year. Nearly thirty thousand immigrant children have been apprehended in fiscal year 2016. Thousands more escape detention and make it to communities all across the United States, including the New York City metropolitan area. They arrive alone, scared and often scarred from the physical and psychological abuse they suffer on their long voyage to the United States.
Hispanic Federation Friends of Immigrant Refugee Minors (FIRM) is an initiative started in 2015 by the Hispanic Federation that brings together unaccompanied minors throughout New York. For many of these children who made a solitary journey to the United States in the hopes of escaping the violence and brutality tearing their native countries in Central America apart, it has proven difficult to relate to peers. FIRM provides an outlet for these social connections that are crucial to development and adjustment.
Part of FIRM’s work includes social gatherings such as our recent visit to Yankee Stadium. Some 200 unaccompanied minors and others headed to Yankee Stadium to watch the Yankees play their final game of the 2016 season.
“It’s difficult to imagine or understand what these young people are going through,” said Jessica Orozco, Assistant Vice President for Policy. “We know that many have been abused and need counseling and support services. We also know that they face many of the challenges of other, older immigrants such as help with education, employment and housing. FIRM is Hispanic Federation’s way of providing the social supports that will help ease the trauma of immigration to the United States and, hopefully, ensure their success here.”
For more information on FIRM, contact Fryda Guedes.