July 19, 2014

​Religious Leaders Petition Congress to Support Immigrant Children

 ©2014 Religion News Service

Religious leaders urged President Obama and
Congress to provide funding for legal assistance to unaccompanied migrant
children who are in U.S. custody after fleeing violence, murder and
extortion abroad.

The emergency funds would go toward helping
children who have entered the United States without lawful
immigration papers and without a parent or guardian. The
money could also help meet mental health needs.

Multiple speakers, including United Methodist
Bishop Minerva Carcano and the Rev. David Vasquez, spokesman for
the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, took part in a national
teleconference Thursday (July 10). They then sent a petition signed by
more than 3,800 people to Congress.

“We are asking President Obama, Congress and the
Department of Homeland Security to do the right thing by providing funding for
the care and due process of these migrant children — including the full
implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act,” said

Carcano visited the Oxnard detention
facility in California this week and said it was at capacity with 570
children. The children were clean and well-dressed, she said, but there were no
funds for mental health care or legal assistance.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic congresswoman from
California, emphasized that it is time for Congress to respond.

“None of this is perfect,” Lofgren said. But, she
continued, “as a country we can step up and do a lot better.”