PRESS RELEASE: LIRS Highlights Continued Family Separations in Statement for the Record
For Immediate Release:
March 26, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, as the Department of Homeland Security prepares for a hearing on family separation, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) has submitted a statement for the record, outlining the fact that family separations continue as a practice and have a lasting traumatic impact on vulnerable children.
“As one of just two agencies that worked with the government to support reunification efforts, LIRS is uniquely poised to offer insights on the impact of family separation. We saw it firsthand,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS. “Through our ongoing services for unaccompanied children, we can also state unequivocally that the practice of family separation continues today – a fact that needs to be acknowledged and addressed immediately.”
In the statement, LIRS calls out the immoral strategy of using family separation as a deterrent to immigration and reiterates the need to implement policies that put the well-being of children first.
“Children should never be used as leverage for political gain,” said Vignarajah. “Protecting children and defending their legal and humanitarian rights is critical to preserving our moral standing as a nation.”
LIRS emphasized the importance of expanding alternatives to detention and providing Family Case Management – services that have proven to be highly effective and cost-efficient.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest immigration and refugee resettlement agencies in the United States, and only one of two agencies called on by the U.S. government to help reunite children with parents after family separations. LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration, and other vulnerable populations. Through 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.