From 2002 up to 2011, the U.S. government has championed many much needed reforms to assist unaccompanied migrant children who have fled to the United States, seeking refuge in our country. The U.S. government historically has recognized that many of these children risk dangerous journeys to the United States for complex and compounding security reasons in their home countries. Some of these reforms include the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Now, for the first time in a decade, the Obama Administration is threatening to erode these basic and much-needed protections.
Currently these laws mandate that unaccompanied migrant children coming to the United States from Central America and other non-contiguous countries be immediately transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where LIRS and other partners work hard to identify trafficking and vulnerabilities, reunify children with family members and link children with social and legal service providers to assist them with their child protection and legal relief needs.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has stated that it would like to roll back these important child and humanitarian protections. The Administration is seeking to return these children immediately without the safeguard of seeing a child protection professional, an attorney or a legal guardian. Needless to say, we at LIRS are concerned with the Administration’s proposed disregard to the due process and protection needs of these vulnerable children.
In Deuteronomy 10: 18, we are told that God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” We at LIRS, have been working tirelessly to remind the Administration and Congress that United States should continue to welcome these children and treat them with compassion, safeguarding their unique protection needs.
Encourage the Administration to protect these children with an #ActOfLove.