Over the past month and half there has been increased concerns at the U.S.-Mexico border. In late May, findings that there was an increased number of unaccompanied, undocumented children apprehended at the border were publicized. While the jury is still out on exactly why there has been such an increase over the recent months, it is clear that there needs to be a resolution as to how to deal with the issue. And that resolution needs to come quickly.
The Arizona Republic has reported an estimated 57,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended by Border Patrol since October of last year. This means there have already been 18,000 more apprehensions than all of fiscal year 2013. The majority of these minors, approximately 70%, are coming from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These three countries have some of the “highest murder rates in the world.”
It is important to have open communication and frank discussions when it comes to the issues we are facing at the border. This is crucial if we expect a resolution to this problem. Recently, Arizona State University (ASU) has announced that it will hold an online panel focusing on the issues concerning the child immigration crisis. The panel will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications on the ASU campus.
ASU will be partnering with The Arizona Republic in hosting the “online, interactive discussion [featuring] Arizona Republic staff who contributed to a weeklong series of stories examining the recent wave of unaccompanied migrant children seeking asylum in the United States.” Public involvement is welcomed.
The conversation will be moderated by Republic opinion writer, Linda Valdez, and the panel will be made up of Bob Ortega and Daniel Gonzalez (reporters), as well as Michael Chow and David Wallace (photographers). The panelists will take turns speaking about what they have experienced while covering the border crisis.
In the past several weeks, these panelists have visited parts of Central America and U.S. border communities in Texas and Arizona. They focused on collecting “the stories of children hoping to escape violence and bleak futures in search of a better life.”
Kristin Gilger, associate dean at the Cronkite School said that the school is looking forward to partnering with The Arizona Republic for this event. “At the Cronkite School, we teach coverage of immigration and border issues as part of our Latino specialization, so this is an important topic for us, as it is for all Arizonans,” she said.
The Arizona Republic also had published a story written by a student at the Cronkite school, Emilie Eaton. She had gone on a class trip to Chiapas, Mexico and wrote a story about her observations. The Cronkite Borderlands Initiative, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Adelaida and Barry Severson, “offers students multimedia depth reporting training and the opportunity to learn about critical immigration and border issues.”
“Reporters on the Ground: The Child Immigration Crisis” is presented by The Arizona Republic and the Cronkite School in partnership with Valle del Sol, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Leadership.