Monday, July 28, 2014

Telethon Held for Deported Honduran Migrants

Organizers of a telethon held over the weekend for Honduran migrants deported from the U.S. deemed the event as a success.

The telethon, which was transmitted nationwide on TV and radio, was organized in Tegucigalpa under the theme “Open your arms to the returning children and families.” Monetary donations were not accepted; instead, individuals were asked to bring food, clothes and other items to be used in shelters in Honduras for deportees. 

The goal of one month’s worth of donations for hundreds of families was surpassed as people from around Honduras reportedly donated three months worth of supplies. Among the items donated were some 600 bags of clothing, 1200 bags of food, 900 mattresses and even wheelchairs for migrants disabled from riding the Mexican freight train network known as “La Bestia.”

The forty-eight hour event was pushed by first lady Ana García de Hernández along with different entities that received the donations including the Honduran Red Cross, UNICEF and local catholic charities.

“The deported migrants return only with the clothes they have on, many doubts with their communities and a great deal of sadness and pain in their hearts,” said Garcia.

“This is why it’s critical that we unify as a country that knows how to help those that need it” via events like the telethon, added Garcia who in recent weeks has helped welcome back deported children and mothers from the U.S.
“Nobody is too poor not to help their brother in their time of need,” said President Juan Orlando Hernández in solidarity with the telethon.

Since October, more than 57,000 migrant minors mostly from Central America have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. Numerous suggestions have been made in order to try to control this influx such as the U.S. granting refugee status to Honduran children or creating a “mini-Marshall Plan” to improve Central America’s economy.  The possible amending of a 2008 law aimed at combating sex trafficking in order to expedite the deportations of Central American minors could impact the spike in unaccompanied girls captured at the U.S.-Mexico border.

For Oswaldo Canales, representative of the Evangelical Fellowship of Honduras, there are numerous factors behind migration from Central America including gang violence, gross inequality and a lack of economic opportunities. Hence, while last weekend’s telethon was helpful the solution to these problems will require a very deep and serious effort throughout the Americas:
 “There must be a comprehensive policy where all sectors are involved and do not rely on handouts that are given by other countries. We are the only ones who can change the country where there are those who have everything, others have nothing, while most in extreme poverty.”
The influx of unaccompanied migrant children has resurrected the fractious (and occasionally ugly) debate over immigration in the U.S.  A recent CNN/ORC International poll found “major partisan, geographical, generational, and gender divides” regarding the immigration issue.

Video Source– Associated Press via YouTube (“Migrants deported from the United States, both adults and children, arrived in their home country of Honduras” earlier this month).

Online Sources – El Heraldo; La Tribuna; New York Times; CNN; PolitiFact; USA TODAY

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