How Is The Deportation Crisis Impacting Orphan Care In Honduras?

Every week in Honduras, HUNDREDS of people arrive back in the country after having been deported from the United States and Mexico. It is not an unusual occurrence for multiple commercial flights completely full of people to land at the San Pedro Sula airport, the airport designated for all deportations. Private flights known as "ICE air" manage the deportation of these people, the majority of which are not being deported on criminal charges, but on immigration violations.

Regardless of anyone's political views on this matter, there is a problem that must be addressed...

A problem that we with Identity Mission have decided we CANNOT ignore.

A problem that has the potential to shape a generation.

A problem that we are hoping YOU will help us to solve.

We spoke with the regional director of DINAF (Direccion de Niñez, Adolescencia y Familia - The Government department of kids, adolescents, and families) recently and were absolutely floored by the workload that Honduras' Child-Protective department has taken on as a result of the rise in deportation. This branch of the Honduran government is already overworked, one government case-worker already oversees hundreds of cases of orphaned and abandoned children happening as a result of the brokenness inside the country, but the recent rise in deportation has created a level of tragedy never before seen in Honduras. Of the 400+ people who weekly land in Honduras with "ICE Air" - many of these people are children. And too often, some of these children return to Honduras, unaccompanied by their families. 

In short, this matters because the San Pedro Sula DINAF office that was already overwhelmed by the orphan crisis in this nation is now receiving hundreds of new cases every week.

Cases that require many hours to solve.

Cases that may lead to a variety of dead ends.

Cases that are most easily resolved by placing a child in an orphanage.

Cases that all represent real, human lives, who were created in the image of God.

Regardless of anyone's political views, we cannot let children become the casualties of any political decision.

We cannot stand by and let children suffer because of the decisions of government officials.

We cannot stand by and let children suffer for the decisions of their parents.

We cannot stand by and let children suffer because of a lack of resources.

We cannot stand by and let children suffer for any reason.

The drastic increase in orphans and abandoned children in the San Pedro Sula region of Honduras is shocking and requires immediate action! The government officials at DINAF are trying their best to manage the cases of so many children, but this work is more than they could be expected to handle. But what if WE (ALL OF US) could help kids just like “Ian” (name changed to protect his identity)...

Just days ago, Identity Mission received a call from DINAF asking for help placing a 15-month old boy named "Ian" into a loving family. DINAF is beginning to see the importance of placing kids in families rather than institutions, and they are increasingly more open to the help that Identity Mission has to offer. “Ian” had been deported from the United States under complicated circumstances that are still hard to fully understand. He had spent the last four days at the national deportation center for minors and his case became clear that he would not be able to enter into his biological family for safety concerns. (Due to the sensitivity of his case we are going to leave the details vague here.)

We were, of course, thrilled to be able to help! The two of us, along with one of Identity Mission's amazing social workers, went into the San Pedro Sula DINAF office to meet "Ian" and to sign the paperwork to have him placed into Identity Mission's care with one of our incredible foster families! Next thing we knew we were riding to meet up with a family with a very sleepy Ian  napping in the back seat with our social worker. 

Ian's story is complicated, but we cannot wait to see how God uses him and works in his life.

But his story is also so important as we look at the mission as a whole, for TWO reasons . . .

First of all, we cannot overstate how big of a deal it is that the San Pedro Sula office of DINAF is reaching out to Identity Mission for help placing kids in families! Months ago, it would've been business, as usual, and ”Ian” quickly would have been placed into the nearest available orphanage, but this movement that we believe so strongly in is taking roots in the government office itself and we are THRILLED to be a part of it!

Second of all, ”Ian” was one of the many cases that DINAF is sorting through involving children who have been deported, without their parents or related adults who can claim or fight for him.

We want to continue to be the ones fighting for ”Ian” and many, many more just like him. The deportation crisis is adding to the orphan crisis of Honduras and specifically to the urban region of San Pedro Sula. We cannot ignore the problems that exist in this region, nor can we ignore our calling to bring hope to so many situations that seem hopeless.

We genuinely believe that now, more than ever, Identity Mission MUST exist in San Pedro Sula. The needs are obvious, and the opportunities to serve are growing every day. God has laid this vision on our hearts, and we have taken many strides to see this vision become a reality, but now we need YOUR help to establish our presence in San Pedro Sula . . .

Establishing a presence in a city like San Pedro Sula is neither easy nor free. We have hired case-workers to serve this region. We have a family preservation director who is doing fantastic work in San Pedro (family preservation is empowering at-risk families where they are so that they can stay in their communities and raise their children in their country rather than fleeing to the United States).But there is so much more to come. Every new child that we have the privilege of serving means new expenses and eventually, more staff support for Identity Mission.We want to be fully prepared to see the doors open in an exciting way, but we need YOUR help to get there.

Would you consider going to identitymission.org/donate to become a monthly partner? 

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Erica Switzer