Teen starts website aimed at helping migrant children deal with parents' possible deportation

Teen starts website aimed at helping migrant children deal with parents' possible deportation
© icodhelp.org

A Connecticut high school student has founded a website aimed at helping young children and teenagers deal with the emotional trauma caused by a parent or family member being deported.

Jody Bell, a 16-year-old rising senior at Greenwich High School, told The Associated Press that she created In Case Of Deportation (ICOD) as a resource for young people after hearing firsthand from classmates who were afraid to turn to school authorities for help after a parent is deported.

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“They would talk to close friends, like me and some others,” Bell told the AP. “And that, I think, was one of the first times that I recognized that this was an issue.”

Her website states that she began the project during her sophomore year with the mission to "give children more power to start a discussion about deportation, and give them the resources and support that they need to follow through and take initiative to prepare for these emergency situations."

"I began the creation of I.C.O.D. during my sophomore year of high school, where I noticed many of my peers were anxious about the potential deportation of their undocumented parents," Bell explains on the website. "They would come to me and other high school friends with this issue, as they were uncomfortable talking to adults about the legal status of their parents."

Bell told the AP that she created the website after taking a program billed as a “12-week mini-MBA” with Girls With Impact, an organization that provides skill training for young women in preparation for the business world.

Sections on the website explain the process of deportation in simple language and help children prepare emergency plans for use in the event that a parent is deported.

The AP reported that Bell launched the project this month amid criticism of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" border policy mandating prosecution of all immigrants suspected of illegally entering the U.S.

The policy led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border upon entering the U.S. before the president signed an executive order halting the separations amid strong criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.