Children's 'feliz' contrasts with rough past

Together at last

(To see Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's message, see

For more than seven years, the four girls stayed in Honduras without their mother, in homes where they were neglected or abused. They had about a half dozen caregivers, all but a couple of them caring only about the money they were sent to care for them.

The girls’ mother, Lizeth Gavarrete, left Honduras for the United States just as her mother did when Gavarrete was just age 4. Gavarrete was seeking work and fleeing an abusive relationship.

Compassion, hospitality the focus of ecumenical prayer service for immigrant children

Jim Mayhew played a flute to lead a prayer walk for unaccompanied children coming to the United States. Several dozen people attended the prayer vigil at the Turkish Pavilion in Tower Grove Park Aug. 19 meant to raise awareness of the influx of undocumented children as a humanitarian, not political, issue.

Parents with toddlers in strollers, adults and children of all ages, and religious sisters waved pinwheels symbolic of childhood innocence as they walked solemnly in prayer at an ecumenical prayer vigil for immigrant children on August 19.

Dozens of people of all faiths gathered at the Turkish Pavilion in Tower Grove Park to pray for the thousands of unaccompanied minors immigrating to the United States, and for those in law enforcement responding to the massive influx of immigrant children.

Editorial | Migration and human dignity intersect

Since 2011, the United States has experienced an increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving here, mainly at the U.S.-Mexico border. An average of 6,800 arrived each year between federal fiscal years 2004 and 2011. Now, the U.S. government estimates that 90,000 unaccompanied minors could enter the United States this fiscal year.

Catholic Charities of St. Louis joins effort to help migrant children

Central American immigrants awaited transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the Rio Grande near Mission, Texas in July. Catholic Charities of St. Louis agencies are answering the bishops’ call to care for unaccompanied children with compassion and dignity. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the border since October.

Catholic Charities agencies in St. Louis have joined with a coalition of St. Louis City and County agencies and nonprofits to offer assistance to unaccompanied refugee children who have been apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.

Dignity of the vulnerable

Immigrants caught crossing the border illegally were housed inside the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas on July 15. More than 350 detainees, from infants to adults, were mostly separated by gender and age, except for infants.

Most are hungry; sometimes they are malnourished. They have lived in cardboard houses. They have experienced violence and government oppression. They live in fear.

They come from Central America, sometimes other regions, fleeing violent drug cartels. They consider the United States an opportunity for freedom away from their choatic communities and countries and to build a new life for themselves and their families.

Editorial | Border influx shows price of inaction

The stalled immigration reform bill, S.B. 744, once again has received attention with what is being called a crisis of unaccompanied minors coming across the border into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The number of children apprehended there has grown by at least 5,000 in recent months.

U.S. immigration authorities expect 70,000 such migrants will arrive at the Mexican-U.S. border this year, up from 24,668 last year. The number is projected to rise to 127,000 in the next year.

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