Immigrant advocates along the Arizona border with Mexico say children are subjected to assaults, robberies and sex trafficking while trying to cross the border into the United States.
Last year, more than 6,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection agents in the Tucson Sector alone. While that figure is less than the tens of thousands who cross in Texas, immigrant advocates say more needs to be done to help protect the young border crossers in Arizona.
"Some young people do come through here, and they and the women we serve are particularly vulnerable," said Father Sean Carroll, who is the executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, which advocates for humanitarian treatment of immigrants along both sides of the Arizona and Mexico border.
"They've been through a lot of experiences that tell them they don't matter, that they're not valuable, that they're not worthy. And when they come here, we serve them," said Carroll.
The Kino Border Initiative operates a kitchen and shelter in Nogales, Sonora. Last year, it served nearly 36,000 meals.
One of the recent recipients of a meal was 16-year-old Byron Consuel. He said he left his home country of Honduras more than one month before. Along the way to Nogales, he was beaten and thrown off of a moving train. He has no idea how he is going to make it across the border into the United States, but is certain the future in the north is more promising than it was at home.
If you want to learn more about the Kino Border Initiative, you can click here.
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