Yes, unaccompanied minors are coming to the U.S. from Central America. But why?



That's the question a discussion at the Latin American Coalition aims to answer tonight. The coalition and Sisters of Mercy will host Aida Leticia Gonzales, an associate of the sisters and the administrative director of Mercy Dreamweavers in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, who will speak about the violence in Central America that's causing many of its inhabitants - most recently about 50,000 unaccompanied minors - to flee for a chance at a safer, more stable life in the U.S. To give you an idea of the conditions they're facing at home, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have some of the highest homicide rates in the world, and drug gangs often use children as their foot soldiers.

  • Thomas Frost Jensen (Flickr Creative Commons)

Of course, the migrants face a new set of troubles when they arrive. The Obama administration has a full-on humanitarian crisis on its hands as it struggles to decide the proper way to address the needs of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who have recently crossed into the U.S. Deporting them without an escort puts them at a high risk of danger, but they can't continue to be held at detention centers, where conditions are already rough. Hopefully understanding why they're coming will help us come up with a more realistic, holistic approach to immigration reform.

The talk is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Latin American Coalition, 4938 Central Ave., Suite 101. Check back for coverage of the event tomorrow.