Central America

Please Help Ensure CHILDREN Get the Legal Assistance They Need!

Immigrant JusticeMarch 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.

Immigration Activists Deliver 136K ‘Stop the Raids’ Signatures to White House

By Rick Herron, Sojourners

Image via Megan Cagle/Church World Service

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.

“Responding to Humanitarian Crises: Syrian and Central American Refugees” – Interfaith Immigration Coalition Webinar, October 19, 2015: PowerPoint Presentation and Audio Recording.

Latin America Working Group Petition to ask the Administration to stop aiding Mexican Immigration Enforcement.

Recommended Article:

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

Supporting the Spiritual Care of Child Migrants and Moms

TexasImageSupportDilleyFamilyCenterYou’re invited to support children and moms in the Dilley Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, by providing Children and Adult Spanish Bibles & Bible Story Books.


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.


  •  Angel to Angel Project:  Please join children, parents, friends and people of faith across the country in sending cards of care and prayer to the almost 700 undocumented mothers and children (infants through teens) who have been detained.  For an informational flyer on this letter writing project to children and families in detention, visit: (English) (Spanish) (revised April 8, 2015)
  • There are lots of ways Disciples can help immigrant moms and kids in detention. Click here to find out how you can help.
  • There are lots of ways Disciples can learn about and advocate for immigrant kids and parents in detention. Click here to find out how you can help advocate.
  • Faith Communities talking points against the detention bed quota for immigrants and implement alternatives to detention. Click here for information.
  • Disciples of Christ: Ways to Help Children in Crisis, Seeking Refuge   (Revised August 30, 2014)
  • Ways for Disciples to Lend a Hand and Help Central American Children in Crisis
  • Week of Compassion Responding to the Crisis
  • KidstoKids Urgent Project: Children at the Southern Borders. Please send photos or feedback on the project to jkramer@dhm.disciples.org.
  • Faith leaders letter to Congress July 14, 2014
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denominational statement and initial recommendations regarding the crisis.
  • Prayers for the arriving  children and their families in crisis, by Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea
  • A sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea July 13, 2014, at National City Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, DC re: the children’s crisis.  Title: “Heel Gripping Hope”, Genesis 25:19-34.  Included with the sermon

What you can do

Church World Service Resources: 

Other Resources:

Do Not Undermine Legal Protection for Vulnerable Children and Families

Faith community delivers a 3,800+ signature petition to Administration and Congress calling for protection of unaccompanied children

Listen to the press teleconference audio: CLICK HERE
View the national faith petition: CLICK HERE

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.

Homeland Security Chief Receives Petition on Migrant Children

Sharon petition to Jeh JohnsonWashington, 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’.”

CWS Responds to President Obama’s Announcements on Immigration

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. 

Crossing alone: Children fleeing to U.S. land in shadowy system

Shelters offer safe haven for many, but some suffer physical and sexual abuse

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.

Alone, Illegal and Underage: The Child Migrant Crisis

By Jennifer Scholtes and Emily Ethridge, Congressional Quarterly Staff

Minors Crossing boarderMay 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

Number of Minors crossing border








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