March 18, 2016 — As a nation, we recognize the need for children to be protected and valued. We would never allow a toddler to drive themselves. We would not dream of asking an infant to care for their own medical needs. So why are we currently asking children as young as 3 years old to represent themselves in immigration court?
Right now, many children seeking asylum in the United States are forced to represent themselves in court without a lawyer to avoid deportation back to their countries of origin. These children have fled violence, persecution and extreme poverty. For them to be treated as criminals and without proper legal representation is unconscionable. Read the full alert and see how you can support The Fair Day in Court Act.
Sojourners (February 3, 2016) — With chants of “Hey, Obama, don’t deport my mama!” and “Que queremos? Justicia! Cuando? Ahora!” a diverse group of immigration activists and leaders made their way from St. John’s Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square to rally at the White House on Tuesday.
They were there to demand that the Obama administration stop deporting Central American asylum seekers and instead grant them Temporary Protected Status. With them they carried boxes full of more than 136,000 petition signatures calling for the same. Read more.
Latin America Working Group Petition to ask the Administration to stop aiding Mexican Immigration Enforcement.
They made the long, rough journey to cross the U.S. border alone. Here are their faces and voices. By Elliot Blumberg and Oliver Contreras, The Washington Post
D.C. Area’s Safety Net For Immigrant Children Is Stretched Thin, Report Says — This NPR article chronicles challenges Central American migrant children are facing in the DC area–which has received about one sixth the total number of children who arrived into the U.S. last year. As many more are expected due to violence in their homelands continuing to escalate, our churches will continue to educate about root causes and offer hospitality to the children in each way we can.
What you can do
Church World Service Resources:
Faith community delivers a 3,800+ signature petition to Administration and Congress calling for protection of unaccompanied children
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 10, 2014) — As Congress considers an emergency funding request from the Obama Administration, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, national religious leaders and faith groups urge Congress to prevent the Administration from subverting critical legal protections for unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
In a national faith press teleconference, United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who just visited the Oxnard detention facility in California urged the President and Congress not to expedite the deportation of children.
“We are asking President Obama, Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to do the right thing by providing funding for the care and due process of these migrant children – including the full implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorizations Act,” said Bishop Carcaño.
Washington, D.C. (July 7, 2014) The Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries, hand delivered a petition (signed by hundreds of Disciples women and others–among nearly 4,000 faith voices nationwide!) directly to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on July 6.
“We caught him as he left a Senate hearing – and I got to walk with him and share our grave concern that he will protect these unaccompanied children who have fled horrendous violence and conflict in Central America,” said Stanley-Rea.
“As I handed him the packet with thousands of names, it was literally “weighty” in his grasp with pages upon pages of single spaced, double columned signatures! I could tell he was impacted by this physical evidence of your commitment. And just a couple hours later, our petition was featured in the Washington Post.” Sharon added.
“I told Secretary Johnson that we will hold him, the President, and Congress accountable for not expediting the deportation of vulnerable children who have sought refuge here in our country. And I assured him that people of faith and conscience are deeply committed to ensuring our nation fully lives up to our moral and legal obligations – and to not send children back to circumstances where they can be trafficked, exploited or even killed. We’ve got to do better,” concluded Sharon in a email to the thousands who signed the petition for ‘Migrant children require humanitarian response’.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2014) — Today, President Barack Obama made two announcements regarding immigration policies: a letter to Congressional leadership on the administration’s response to the increase in unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America, and a speech indicating future administrative action on immigration in light of House Republicans’ failure to pass legislation.
The Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service, released the following statement:
The President’s announcements today conflate two distinctly separate crises: the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America and the urgent need for administrative relief from deportation for 11 million aspiring Americans.
We are pleased that President Obama wrote to Congressional leadership asking for necessary additional funding to meet the needs of unaccompanied children. However, we are outraged that the President asked Congress to change current law to allow the administration to expedite the deportation of these children. This is a moral disgrace. We condemn the administration’s proposal for its emphasis on removing, detaining and denying these children access to life-saving protection.
By Susan Carroll – Houston Chronicle
May 24, 2014 | Updated: May 29, 2014
LOS FRESNOS – The round-cheeked 17-year-old with wide chocolate eyes hadn’t felt like a child for some time. He’d spent months trying to reach the U.S., clinging to the tops of steel trains, holed up with kidnappers, shivering in a chilly Border Patrol holding tank.
So, when Santos Alvarez landed one winter day at a shelter for immigrant children caught in the U.S. illegally and alone, it seemed more like summer camp than a detention center. To read the full story from the Houston Chronicle.
By Jennifer Scholtes and Emily Ethridge, Congressional Quarterly Staff
May 28, 2014 — On America’s southern border, officials have watched for the past few years as a trickle of children crossing the Rio Grande illegally without their parents has turned into a veritable flood. So many kids, in fact, that the issue has triggered a crisis, as Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson had to issue an emergency alert this month establishing a shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to house the thousands of youths entering each week. Read more.
Protecting Unaccompanied Migrant Children – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
In the beginning of Holy Week, marking the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, his suffering and his death, we watch with sadness and grief the…Read more >
Disciples and United Church of Christ Holy Season Statement on Violence in the Middle East and Refugees In the beginning of Holy Week, marking the…Read more >