Faith Leaders to Congress: Oppose Revisions to Anti-Trafficking Laws
Poverty and violence have caused a surge in child migration to the United States from countries like Guatemala, which has the highest child malnutrition rate in the Western Hemisphere. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)
“Few people are elevating social and economic conditions that compel people to take such dangerous risks by crossing the U.S. border or sending their unaccompanied children in search of a better life, but they are conditions that must be addressed if we are serious about fixing this crisis.” - Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are crossing the border, fleeing unspeakable conditions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have crossed our borders. By year’s end, we are expecting that number to grow to between 70,000 and 90,000.
Some members of Congress would like to deport the children faster by amending a 2008 anti-trafficking law that was originally meant to protect migrant children. Faith leaders are speaking up for the rights of the children. Today, members of the Evangelical Immigration Table – a coalition of which Bread for the World is a member – sent a letter to Congress opposing revisions to the 2008 law.
The faith leaders write:
"Children are vulnerable even in the best of circumstances and warrant special protection beyond that offered to adults. This vulnerability is compounded among children who flee situations of criminal gangs, sexual violence, trauma and extreme poverty, without their parents to accompany them.”
Urging concern for the children’s well-being first, the leaders are clear that the humanitarian crisis is an issue that concerns people of faith:
“As we pray for these children and also our nation, we are reminded of Matthew 19:13-14 in which Jesus said, “ Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.’ Churches and faith-based organizations have long partnered with the federal government in serving immigrant children and families in the United States. Many churches and faith-based organizations are ready and committed to provide the same type of assistance and pastoral care in the case of these unaccompanied children.”
Bread for the World is urging our government to focus on the root causes that are driving the surge of migration from Central America to the United States, such as the economic, social, governance, and security conditions.
Read the letter here and add your voice. There are two things you can do right now to help.
- Pray. Pray for these children, their parents, and the often poor and violence-stricken communities they have left behind. And pray for the children who still remain in Central America, many of whom, like Emilio, go without enough food for days on end. You can use these prayers or your own.
- Call (800-826-3688) or email your U.S. representative and your U.S. senators! Simply say: I urge you to respond to the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border. Please pass legislation that addresses the conditions of poverty, hunger, and violence in Central America that are forcing them to leave.
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