From the Field: Director of Latin American Policy Catherine Mongeon describes visit to U.S.-Mexico Border

June 27, 2023

Last month I visited the KIND offices in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico to meet with my colleagues on both sides of the border who are helping children traveling alone understand their rights as migrant children and access protection. I met with KIND’s impressive staff who are working every day in some of the most challenging environments. Being with my colleagues is always a powerful reminder of the importance of KIND’s work. And speaking with the children who have made long journeys in search of safety, which I had the chance to do while on the border, is a reminder that the need for this work continues. KIND staff overlooking the U.S.-Mexico border.

While in Mexico, I met three young siblings who had been traveling alone from Central America. The oldest had just celebrated her birthday but was not yet a teenager. She told me proudly that she cared for the younger two during the journey across Mexico. The three of them had to leave their home behind and were hoping to cross into the United States where they’d be reunited with family. Kids like these need safe options to reach the United States and ask for protection. 

This is why KIND has been advocating for border policies that prioritize the safety and well-being of migrant children. KIND has policy teams in the United States and Mexico working together to help the Mexican and U.S. governments better coordinate on child protection issues. This advocacy work will help create safer pathways for children, like these siblings, to reunite with their families, seek protection, and thrive in their communities.  

All of KIND’s policy recommendations are grounded in our work with children.  The experience and expertise of our staff who are advocating for children every day make our recommendations stronger and enhance our credibility with and value to policymakers. Visiting with KIND staff—and seeing the children we serve in person—not only informs my policy work but is an invaluable reminder of the impact of all that KIND does. Meeting these three young siblings, and so many other vulnerable children at the border, brought home the urgency of our work in a very real and tangible way. These kids are in precarious situations in a dangerous region with little protection. I remain grateful for KIND’s ability to assist them in ways that help make them safer and give them the opportunity to thrive.