5,000 signatures reached
To: President Obama, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, & members of Congress
Migrant children require humanitarian response
As people of faith, we call on you to address the magnitude and urgency of the humanitarian crisis of migrant children, by taking the following immediate and appropriate actions:
•Increase funds for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to adequately serve these children, without reducing funds that are vital to serving refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients, Cuban / Haitian entrants and all vulnerable populations in ORR's care. Congress should approve the $1.9 billion increase that the Senate subcommittee recommends for ORR, and also provide an additional $200 million to ensure that refugee services will not be adversely impacted.
•Congress should not approve President Obama's request to more expeditiously deport these innocent children, but should instead provide unaccompanied children the screening, services and status required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
•Provide safe and humane living conditions, medical care and mental health support without delay.
• Provide access to visitation ministries, pastoral care, play and activities appropriate for children.
•Provide legal assistance and legal representation to all children.
•Collaborate creatively with the faith community, non-governmental agencies, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and all who care about this humanitarian disaster.
•Release the children as quickly as possible with their family members in the U.S. and/or therapeutic placements, mentor homes, and foster homes for young
children and pregnant and parenting teens, rather than placing such children in large institutional settings.
•Require that all children released from federal custody receive follow up services to ensure their safety and well being.
•Improve the trafficking screening, training and protocols along the border so that children entering the United States are properly evaluated and that victims of trafficking and persecution are effectively identified and referred for appropriate services.
•Ensure accurate investigation of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) abuse and allow independent human rights monitoring to ensure oversight and transparency of the handling of these children, in order to prevent further abuses from occurring.
Why is this important?
Our sacred scriptures say....
“You are not to abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them in any way, and they cry to me, I will certainly heed their cry. - Exodus: 22: 21-23
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. “ - Luke 18:16
As people of faith we see all children as our children. We believe that all children must be ensured international protection and be treated with dignity and respect. We believe we are called to care for all children, as if they were our own.
The reasons these children have left their countries of origins are complex and interrelated and have been well documented by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees Report, “Children on the Run,” which has warned of this growing humanitarian crisis. The vast majority have come seeking refuge from surges of violence, and to be reunited with their parents and families living in the United States. Extreme poverty and economic forces, along with situations of surging violence has pushed many of these children out of their home countries. Many have endured horrific trauma and violence as they flee their countries often crossing multiple borders.
It is heartbreaking and appalling to see and hear of the inadequate conditions in which children are being held along the US southern border. Children should never be held in detention facilities or makeshift holding centers. Policing and enforcement agencies should not be taking care of children. independent oversight and human rights monitoring must be allowed to ensure the safety and protection of these children. Children should be reunited with their families in the U.S. immediately.
We as people of faith believe that these children must not be forgotten . We call on our government to act with purpose and humanitarian resolve.
This petition is sponsored by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice- California, the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice in San Diego, the Cal-Pacific Immigration Taskforce of the United Methodist Church and attendees of the Let My People Work Conference in Los Angeles (June 9-11, 2014).
How it will be delivered
Press Conference and Delivery of Letter to White House, Department of Homeland Security and appropriate House of Representatives.