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MI Groups Seek Supplies for Central American Refugee Children

PHOTO: With roughly 100 Central American refugee children currently being housed in Michigan, immigrant advocacy groups are working to address their immediate as well as long-term needs. Photo courtesy of Michigan United.
PHOTO: With roughly 100 Central American refugee children currently being housed in Michigan, immigrant advocacy groups are working to address their immediate as well as long-term needs. Photo courtesy of Michigan United.
August 29, 2014

LANSING, Mich. - They fled their homelands with only what they could carry, and now several Michigan groups are coming together to provide clothing and toiletries for Central American and Mexican children who escaped gang violence and poverty in their native countries this summer.

It's estimated that about 100 undocumented minors from Honduras, El Salvador and other countries in the region are currently being housed in Michigan while they await the next step.

Mayra Valle, a fellow with Michigan United, said these kids are in need of the most basic items: "Tissue, shampoo, bath soap or wash, toothbrush and toothpaste; PJs, undergarments, socks."

Donations are being collected at the Michigan United Office in Kalamazoo and at the Latino Family Services building in Detroit. Valle said the groups could use additional dropoff sites.

The kids face a long and uncertain road, she said, because lawmakers have yet to find a way to hammer out a plan to deal with the influx of children at the border. Valle said she thinks sending them home isn't the answer.

"We (are) fighting for them to stay in the United States," she said, "so we're trying to find relatives, and also constantly fighting for them."

While lawmakers continue to debate what to do with the refugee children, disagreements have also played out in some parts of the state, with protests outside housing facilities in Bay City, Vassar and metro Detroit.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI