Political Latinxs United for Movement and Action in Society, a Latinx-based social justice organization at the University of Maryland, held its second meeting of the school year Thursday to discuss the dangers of children traveling alone to the U.S.
The group watched and discussed the 2009 HBO documentary Which Way Home. Members emphasized that the issue of children traveling alone in the U.S. is particularly important because it affects many people, particularly in the area surrounding this university.
“Immigration is a very important Latinx issue, of course, it affects various races and ethnicities,” PLUMAS president Amy Rivera said. “We wanted an event that … people could come together and converse about this issue and gain information and insight they might not have had before.”
The event, part of PLUMAS’ Latinx Heritage Month programming, encouraged members to discuss their opinions and learn more about the topic, Rivera said.
Madison Green, a freshman environmental science and public health major at this university, joined PLUMAS and attended the meeting because she wants to help advocate for immigrants who aren’t citizens of the U.S. Green’s family on her mother’s side immigrated from Panama, so the issue is especially personal to her.
“I was born here, not everybody has that blessing,” Green said. “Being able to advocate for people who don’t have … the same rights that I do is important to me.”
Perla Guerrero, a PLUMAS advisor and an associate professor of American studies, feels it’s important to inform more students about the issue of children traveling alone or without their parents.
“Often students are unaware of this particular dynamic of unaccompanied minors,” Guerreo said. “Even as we have a general understanding or idea of what immigration or undocumented immigration to the United States looks like, often we don’t have this very specific understanding of what it means for children to come without their parents as they either are looking for their parents or looking for just better opportunities.”
Issues relating to immigration often are a cause of concern in the U.S., but Rivera wants people to be aware of the larger issues, the social implications and how it impacts people, especially in the College Park area.
“We’re right next to Langley Park and we’re in [Prince George’s] County that has a large immigrant community,” Rivera said. “If we really want to say that we’re inclusive and diverse and we want to help the community in any way we can, then it starts at home and educating yourself.”