The Obama Administration has reported plans to expand the detention of families with children and to expedite deportations for thousands of unaccompanied migrant children and return them to their home countries without full due process protections. We strongly and unreservedly denounce these plans.
Here’s a policy statement we released on the reported plans:
To expedite deportations and expand detention without full due process places the very families and children who have already risked their lives to find refuge in the United States from violence, hunger and oppression at peril. Reducing legal and humanitarian protections for unaccompanied children and families is in direct contradiction to our responsibility and global leadership for protecting the most vulnerable by denying refugee and trafficked children fair and meaningful access to protection.
“Today we stand by American and faith-based values of welcome, freedom, safety, and due process for
all, including children seeking refuge here as they flee Central America. We cannot accept any response by the Administration or Congress that seeks to detain families with children or to forcibly and indiscriminately return refugees, many of whom are children who have made perilous and courageous journeys, back into a maelstrom of conflict and criminal violence,” says Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “The United States urges and expects countries throughout the world to host hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions of refugees, on their land. Yet when this great nation is faced with a refugee crisis on its own border, we renege on our moral and legal obligations to protect those fleeing for their lives?”
The number of unaccompanied children and families arriving in the United States should not be the
deciding factor in reducing the rights or process they are due. To compromise our values and risk the
lives of families and children in an effort to deport more individuals is inconsistent with American values and is in opposition to international law. Efforts that respect the dignity and rights of families and children and increases the protection they receive, whether in their home countries or the countries to which they flee, would be a more humane and just approach.
As a faith based organization, we are called to “love the stranger” and “welcome the stranger.” We
urgently appeal to all people of faith, to our leaders in Congress, and to President Obama to respond to this refugee crisis with mercy, compassion, love and hospitality.
Let your voice be heard! Speak up for the protection of all people, especially the most vulnerable children and families. Visit our Action Center to remind the Obama Administration and Congress about the United States’ moral and legal obligations.