Friday, October 23, 2009

CASA - YMCA Homes in Mexico

The mission of the YMCA Homes for Migrant Youth is:
To contribute to the holistic development of youth along the Mexican-U.S. border in spirit, mind and body, seeking the maximum protection of their human rights, providing migrant youth with safe and secure shelter including food, clothing, health services and access to a means of communication, with the ultimate goal of reuniting them with their families
  • 500,000 people migrate from Mexico each year
  • Many send money back to Mexico to help their families
  • Remittances from migrant workers in the US are now the country’s second highest source of income (over 25.1 billion dollars!)
  • The YMCA Homes have helped over 50, 000 young people since 1991
  • 3,949 youth were helped in 2008
  • YMCA Homes successfully reunified almost 80% of youth with their families
  • 2008 saw an increase in crime in border towns, when organized crime declared war on local state and federal authorities
  • 2800 people were murdered in 2008 in connection with organized crime

Once the youth are caught entering the US illegally (either at the border, or other location in the country), the repatriation process begins. They’re brought back to the border and placed in a detention centre. “A migrant youth going trough the typical repatriation process has already been interviewed by 5 or 6 US and Mexican authorities before reaching the YMCA Home” (Annual Report, 2008)

Without YMCA Homes like Casa, these youth would then be released onto the streets to fend for themselves. Without food, money or shoes and released into border towns such as Tijuana, with high drug and child prostitution rates, the youth were extremely vulnerable.

Since 1991, they have had a safe place to go. The YMCA “is recognized as the lead provider of services to migrant youth in the areas of basic food and shelter, psycho-social counseling, medical and social referral services and family reunification” (AR, 2008)

Each home is managed by a residing host-family, attending to the migrant youths' basic needs. Once they're are settled in the Home, YMCA social workers begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead to reunifying the youths with their families, helping them to pursue healthier and safer life choices.

Most migrant youth stay for 3 to 8 days, but some stay for several months depending on economic or family circumstances. It costs $54 per day, per youth, which covers shelter, food, health and reunification.

Annual Report 2008, Mexican Federation of YMCAs

NEXT WEEK: Faces from the Border

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