The Rochester Committee on Latin America’s November Program
7 PM, Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Downtown United Presbyterian Church
121 North Fitzhugh St.

Wheelchair-accessible and looped. Free and open to the public.

Dr. Nelson Portillo will present the findings of his study of undocumented Salvadoran children and youth who have made the perilous journey to the US. Based on first-hand accounts from Salvadoran children, Dr. Portillo’s work shows that it is hope that propels even children to face countless risks and even death in their journey to the “American dream” – and that hope does not need a visa.

In the national conversation about immigration, the human face of suffering of those who embark on the odyssey of crossing borders without papers is often forgotten, if not deliberately ignored.

The drama of undocumented migration is even more problematic when the travelers are the most vulnerable of all, children and youth who follow the path of their parents or who fall prey to large multinational organized criminal gangs. Based on first-hand accounts from Salvadoran children and youngsters who dared to make the journey to the US without papers, Nelson Portillo, who was born in El Salvador and holds a Ph.D., has heard not only the narratives of suffering and struggle, but also the stories of the pervasive failures in the immigration system and negligence at the hands of all countries involved in the journey. With an increasing number of children and youth crossing the borders to join their family members in the US, it is essential to make them more visible and recognize their vulnerability in any attempt to bring comprehensive and just immigration reform. Immigrant children and youth, regardless of their legal status, deserve better. They deserve informed advocates who can help advance their cause.