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At the White House, Faith Leaders Protest Deportation of Unaccompanied Children

Bishop
Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church (pictured at left) prepares to march with other faith leaders to be arrested in front of the White House. (Kimberly Burge)

By Kimberly Burge

To the sound of bilingual chanting—“Si, se puede!  Yes, we can!”—hundreds of people of faith joined together on last Thursday in Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest the deportation of unaccompanied children back to Central America. After a short prayer service, 130 faith leaders and activists marched forward in an act of civil disobedience to draw attention to these deportations, asking President Obama to halt them immediately.

“The shame of this country needs to stop,” Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church said to those gathered in the park. “We’re not hearing a moral voice coming from the White House or Congress on this issue. Someone needs to be a moral voice. We’re here to do that, and we’re asking President Obama and Congress to join with us.”

Rev. John McCullough, CEO and president of Church World Service, said, “We come together to pray for the president to loosen the bonds of injustice and let the oppressed go free. Too many families have been separated. Too many tears have been shed for these unjust laws. We pray for the children escaping violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  We pray for President Obama, that he will be brave and act boldly.”

Before she marched forward to be arrested, Judy Coode, communications director for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, explained why she was willing to take this action.

“Hospitality is a requirement of our faith. I’m from a big family and we understood that there was always room for one more. Knowing what we know about the realities of life in these countries, it’s inhumane to send anyone, especially children, back to that situation.”

Sponsors of the rally included the United Methodist Church, Church World Service, CASA de Maryland, Bend the Arc, the Unitarian Universalists Association, the United Church of Christ, Sisters of Mercy, Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the PICO National Network, and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.

Bread for the World continues to urge Congress to address the hunger, poverty, and violence driving migration to the United States. Bread members called senators last week urging them to pass a supplemental funding bill, which included $300 million for the State Department to help address the root causes. The Senate bill was postponed and legislators left for a five-week summer recess without acting. House lawmakers passed a $694 million border bill late Friday. The supplemental appropriations bill did not include funds to address hunger and poverty in Central America. Further, legislation passed Friday in the House revises a 2008 anti-trafficking law. Bread for the World strongly opposes repeals of the key anti-trafficking law that would deny Central American child migrants the right to adjudication before an immigration judge and due process protections.

To find out more about Immigration Reform and Unaccompanied Children, please visit: http://www.bread.org/hunger/immigration/

Kimberly Burge is the interim associate online editor for Bread for the World.

 

« Hunger in the News: Africa Summit, World Breastfeeding Week, Poverty in America Quote of the Day: Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist »

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