USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

First Lady of Mexico Visits USCRI's National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children

During Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s state visit to Washington, the First Lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala de Calderón, met with the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children (NCRIC) to discuss issues affecting unaccompanied migrant children on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.  The director and producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary Which Way Home, Rebecca Cammisa, and the wife of the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Verónica Valencia-Sarukhan, were also present on the occasion.

“It is a privilege for us to host the First Lady of Mexico today," said NCRIC Director, Tricia Swartz.  "Her visit symbolizes our joint effort to provide support and assistance to unaccompanied migrant children undertaking a dangerous journey alone in search of their parents and a better life in the United States.”

“The risks to these migrant children are growing,” said Mrs. Zavala.  “It is our hope both in the United States and in Mexico to see the migration process through the eyes of the children.”

“I am excited to have the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Zavala about an issue we both care about deeply,” said Which Way Home director Rebecca Cammisa. The documentary brings much-needed attention to the plight of children traveling thousands of miles through South and Central America. Each year, about 7,000 children, frequently led by smugglers, are stopped by the authorities as they try to cross the North American border.

An attorney by trade, Mrs. Zavala currently serves as president of an advisory board for a government agency that helps to develop and strengthen families in Mexico. She is widely known for her work to improve services for migrant children and support low-income families.

The National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children (NCRIC) is the only nationwide program serving these vulnerable youth.  Founded in 2005 by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), with a seed grant from Angelina Jolie, NCRIC provides migrating children comprehensive legal services and advocacy.

Top photo: Mrs. Zavala met with NCRIC staff to discuss issues affecting unaccompanied migrant children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bottom photo:
"Kevin is now a very popular name in Mexico," said Mrs. Zavala (left) referring to one of the unaccompanied migrant boys featured in Rebecca Cammisa's (right) Emmy-winning documentary Which Way Home.

USCRI is a Washington, D.C. area-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs and rights of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide by advancing fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting the full participation of refugees and immigrants in community life.

U.S. Commitee for Refugees and Immigrants • 2231 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 310-1130 • www.refugees.org

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