The influx of unaccompanied children that began in 2014 at the U.S. southern border which continues today is an international humanitarian and refugee crisis in desperate need of resolution. Thousands of young lives are in jeopardy as children seek refuge after fleeing from Central America’s Northern Triangle—Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. These countries are overrun by organized crime, violence, human trafficking, gangs, poverty and persecution, and the region has the world’s highest homicide rate. As an organization that represents those who teach and care for the next generation, educators and children’s advocates call for an immediate response from the federal government that puts the safety and well-being of children first while seeking resolution to the root causes of the forced migration. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security enforcement raids that began earlier this year targeting immigrants from Central America have had a chilling effect and caused widespread fear in immigrant communities throughout the country jeopardizing the safety and well-being of children and entire communities.

Moderator: Bruce Lesley, president, First Focus


  • Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
  • Louis Malfaro, AFT National VP and Texas AFT President
  • Marielena Hincapie, executive director, National Immigration Law Center
  • Kelsey Rivas, Classmate of student directly impacted by DHS enforcement actions
  • Wendy Young, president, Kids in Need of Defense
  • Dana Leigh Marks, President, National Association of Immigration Judges, IFPTE
  • Nancy Navarro, councilwoman, Montgomery County, MD