A Westchester children's facility in existence since 1963 is housing migrant children that were separated from their families from the Mexican border amid the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.
Elected officials in Irvington, led by Mayor Brian Smith, issued a joint statement on Friday on the migrant kids who are being housed at Abbott House off Route 9 (Broadway) in the village in Greenburgh as President Donald Trump continues to vacillate on his administration’s immigration policies.
“The Irvington Board of Trustees joins many of you in our disgust and contempt for the ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the United States border with Mexico,” they said in a statement. “The separation of children from their parents is abhorrent and runs counter to the very fabric of what makes America a beacon for justice and freedom to the world.
“The Board of Trustees expressed our outrage, frustration and feelings of hopelessness at this policy in an impromptu discussion at our regular board meeting last Monday night. What we did not know at the time was how close to home this national disgrace was.”
According to the statement, village officials “and many residents have been aware that Abbott House has been providing care for undocumented, unaccompanied minors continuously since 2013 through the Federal Unaccompanied Minors Program,” which was later renamed as the Transitional Resources for Children program.
The statement added that since its founding, Abbott House “has been a beacon of service in Irvington, providing children foundational support by providing foster care as well as specialized care for adults with developmental disabilities. They have always been committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for those with complex needs entrusted in their care.”
The Transitional Resources for Children program cares for more than 50 children separated from their families at a time, and have helped more than 600 children since 2013 when the program was founded. They “They provide these children healthcare, mental health care, emotional support, education, a safe living environment, clothing, recreation and spiritual opportunities.”
“Abbott House also vets every family member or sponsor to ensure the children can safely be reunited,” officials noted. “They work with the families to honor the family’s plans and preferences for their children. If the parents have been returned to their home country, Abbott House will work with the parents to reunite them in their country or to place the children with other family members in the United States. The unification process can take just a few days or may be longer, depending on the individual situation and the family’s preferences.
“While the children who have been separated from their families at the border will hopefully be quickly reunited, there are many local children who will not be as fortunate.
"If there is a silver lining to all the sadness and hurt of recent days, it is the renewed focus on the more than half century of important work that Abbott House has provided to the children of our community and beyond.”
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