Posted Jun 22, 2018

Concerns over US-Mexico border

Families should be together and in communities, not locked up. There are alternatives.

Destination Unknown, a network of over 100 organisations worldwide, coordinated by Terre des Hommes, is very concerned by the current situation at the US border with Mexico and the traumatic and detrimental effect it is having on children.

A new Executive Order issued on June 20 is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. No child should be separated from their family in violation of their best interests. Children and their families continue to suffer with detrimental and long-term effects, and more can and should be done to address comprehensively and urgently the needs of every affected child.

In every measure taken concerning a child, the child’s best interests should be the primary and paramount consideration.

Destination Unknown calls on the US administration to recognise the leading role of child protection authorities in urgently developing and implementing a plan that guarantees every child is swiftly reunited with his or her family.

No child should be detained for immigration-related reasons – it is never in the best interests of the child. All children under US jurisdiction deserve protection without discrimination – not being locked up. Many civil society organisations in the US and around the world are ready to support governments implement non-custodial, community-based alternatives that respect the right to liberty and family life for every child.

The route to the US is paved with risks and hardship for the children and families concerned. For most families, it is not a matter of choice, but one they are despairingly driven to.

Destination Unknown members have a longstanding history of working in South and Central America and know only too well the context of violence and poverty which the children and families being detained at the US border are escaping. Instead of investing in walls and prisons which further harm children, the US can play a leading role in working with authorities and civil societies so that children and their families are not forced to leave in first place.

The world’s eyes are on the children arriving in the US from Mexico. With its proud history of helping children worldwide, the US must not fail the children currently crossing its borders.



For more information, please contact Paul Creeney on +32 (0) 465 946 509 or by email at


About Destination Unknown

Destination Unknown is a global network of organisations which are united to work towards better protection for all children on the move. Destination Unknown member organisations work to: protect children while on the move; help children in building sustainable solutions – including integration into countries of destination; and reduce the pressure for children and their families in countries of origin to migrate. Based on field experience, Destination Unknown advocates governments and other decision-makers for better protection policies for children on the move. The voices of children concerned guide this campaigning.


About Terre des Hommes

Terre des Hommes is a federation of ten organisation working to protect children’s rights and support sustainable development across the globe. Our projects have helped over 8 million children and adults in 67 countries around the world.


Picture: A child on the move in Guatemala. Many children pass through the country before attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.

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