STATEMENT – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Urges Congress to Protect Children & Families
For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congress is slated to vote on two immigration bills that would have devastating impacts on the welfare of children by prolonging their detention and reducing their ability to seek safety in the United States. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) joins other faith communities nationwide in refusing to accept the false notion that protecting our border requires us to harm innocent children and separate families.
Neither bill seeks to provide compassionate solutions to Dreamers, refugees, families seeking safe haven through asylum, and other vulnerable communities.
If enacted, both bills would allow the U.S. government to hold unaccompanied children in adult detention facilities for extended periods of time, undermine the efforts of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to reunify unaccompanied children with their parents or other qualifying sponsors, and force unaccompanied children fleeing violence to return to the same conditions they were escaping from if they are unable to immediately demonstrate a credible fear of return.
“These bills are an attack on the common values that communities of faith have expressed for decades as part of our efforts to welcome the stranger and support family unity,” said Kay Bellor, Vice President of Programs at LIRS. “We know that alternatives to detention are viable and available, and that children and families seeking safe haven deserve the opportunity to make their case. We need a response to immigration that is not damaging to young children and families.”
We call on our lawmakers to uphold the sanctity of family and to treat children humanely and decently.
Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through nearly 80 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.