Thursday, July 10, 2014

Help Unaccompanied Children and Prevent Cuts to Refugee Services

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” Heb. 13:2

In spite of recent reports that there is no hope for comprehensive immigration reform in our Congress, there is still a chance to take action to protect the basic needs of unaccompanied children crossing the border. Many of these children are fleeing increasing violence, poverty, and hunger as they come to the United States with hopes of a better future.

 The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides services to resettle refugees, asylees, Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa recipients who assisted in U.S. Efforts, Cuban and Haitian entrants, victims of human trafficking, and survivors of torture. The ORR is also responsible for providing services to unaccompanied children from Central America. The office is in desperate need of substantially increased funding in order to meet the needs of unaccompanied children, without having to decrease services to refugees and other asylees under ORR’s care. The Administration has requested a $3.7 billion Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill.  In the bill, ORR will receive $1.83 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. In addition, ORR will need at least $3.167 billion in FY 2015 to continue to adequately provide refugee services.

Click here to write to your Member of Congress in support of these emergency funds.

The ORR is a crucial instrument in our call to love the stranger among us. Without the additional funding for FY 2014, they have announced plans to reprogram $94 million from refugee services to serve the increasing numbers of unaccompanied children. Both of these populations deserve to be served and not at the expense of each other. Refugee services are already inadequately funded and further cuts would create detrimental consequences for refugees and the communities that welcome them.

 The action of the PC(USA) 220th General Assembly (2012) expressed our scriptural call to provide hospitality to strangers, to advocate for justice for immigrants regardless of status,  and to advocate actively for legislation that provides hope for young immigrants. Taking action to increase ORR’s funding is a chance to embody the ideals grounded in the love of Jesus Christ to welcome the traveler, and to respect the basic rights of all people, especially the needs of unaccompanied children, refugees, and asylees.

Click here to take action by reaching out to all members of Congress about this crucial issue.

The Stated Clerk, Rev. Gradye Parsons, released this statement on the crisis of unaccompanied minors along the U.S.-Mexico border.