There has been a dramatic increase in the number of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States. In 2012 the number was 7,000; in 2013, about 24,000; and so far this year, more than 52,000 have arrived. The majority of the children are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Various reasons have been cited for the increase. A report from the UN Refugee Agency documents that these children are fleeing conscription into gangs and threats to their personal safety, including gender- and sexual- based violence.
The crisis has been deemed a humanitarian emergency, and the U.S. Government has appointed FEMA to lead the coordination effort to create a matrix of existing agencies and the services they can provide. (http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/pda/unaccompanied-children-report070314/)
The United States House and Senate are considering bills today that address the funding of this country's response to children arriving at our border and the protections given to them as they seek humanitarian protection in court. In addition the House is considering a bill that would limit the administrations ability to extend deferred action from deportation to a larger group of persons. (http://www.pcusa.org/news/2014/7/31/house-and-senate-border-and-immigration-bills/)
As people of faith, we might want to consider the following questions:
- How might our faith shape our response to this issue?
- What spiritual issues are involved?
- What response would be most appropriate?
Please leave any comments that you think are appropriate.