Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Faith Groups Rally Around Migrant Youth - Puck Lo in Tikkun
All over the country, communities of faith are on the front lines of a renewed and growing movement pushing for basic aid and a path to legalization for some 11 million migrants living in the United States without legal status. Many are organizing relief for tens of thousands of recently arrived women and youth migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Frustration with the Obama administration’s continued deportations at the rate of 1,000 people a day, plus the humanitarian/refugee crisis at the border, has prompted many people of faith to organize more formally, in the spirit of a “new sanctuary movement,” to support new arrivals from Central America as well as undocumented migrants who have long lived in the United States.
Congregation members and clergy are creating networks and expanding existing services to support recent and long-time undocumented migrants. They’re visiting adult and youth migrants in detention centers, helping them reunite with their families upon release, and collecting and donating money for legal assistance and other needed services.
Most unaccompanied minors are detained by ICE immediately upon arrival. For many groups it has been a struggle to figure out how best to channel the public outpouring of care into support for the real needs of undocumented youth that have arrived.
However there is still a great deal that congregations can do to support undocumented children. Congregations are collecting items to take to children locked up at DHS holding facilities, providing religious visitation and pastoral care, donating for legal services, finding case workers for child migrants facing deportation, doing advocacy work around gang prevention, and opposing changes in immigration law that would make it easier to deport youth.
The full article is available here