Salisbury Press

Monday, November 18, 2019

KidsPeace reportedly hosts migrant children

Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Nate Jastrzemski in Local News

Amid the growing backlash against separating migrant families at the southern border and the president’s subsequent policy reversal, reports have spread of where children are being filtered across the country. WHYY in Philadephia is reporting one specific destination is KidsPeace on Broadway in Salisbury Township.

HIAS Immigrant Youth Advocacy Project of Pa.’s Supervising Attorney Elizabeth Yaeger told WHYY last week at least nine youths had been moved to the Lehigh Valley, and that her organization is their legal representation.

“We have no information that we can share...,” Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles in an email to The Press June 25. “I have no information about any planned protests.”

Reached by phone June 22, Yaeger clarified that since mid-May there are now about a dozen migrant children billeted at KidsPeace in Salisbury Township. She said KidsPeace is a professional organization that serves unaccompanied children and that quality of care is not at issue.

“That they were taken unjustly is damaging emotionally and psychologically,” Yaeger said. These children were not “unaccompanied” until government officials forced them from their parents, and HIAS is also opposed to returning them to their families only to hold them all indefinitely.

“We’re trying to help the kids understand the legal issues and reuniting them with their parents.”

But that is another issue altogether.

The president’s executive order ending the separation of migrant parents and children June 20 has caused chaos throughout the process and organizations involved, according to reports by NPR news and corroborated by Yaeger. Plans to prosecute all illegal migrants continue despite a promise to keep families together and there is confusion on how to reunite thousands of children - already dispersed among more than a dozen states - with their adult kin.

“As far as we can tell, there’s no plan to reunite these children with their parents,” Yeager said, meaning despite the president’s order, HIAS is not aware of any formal coordination between agencies.

So while there may be desire at the federal level to put families back together, there was no plan for such an action and no one is sure how to do it or what will become of the families afterward.

“The problem started with Trump and ICE,” Yaeger said.