Statewide Day of Prayer

Please consider participating in a state-wide day of prayer for children at the border, on Sunday July 27, 2014, for the many children crossing our southern border who seek refuge from the dangerous situations they have left behind.

Attached you will find a suggested prayer in English and in Spanish. You can also download this PDF online here:
This can be read aloud during your service on Sunday July 27, or printed as a bulletin insert. (Technical details: it’s meant to be printed in landscape mode, with the flip on the short side of the page.)

NJFON Unaccompanied Minors Update

Urgent Humanitarian Crisis Overview
The surge of unaccompanied minors is a migration emergency that is growing in national attention as increasing numbers of children flee violence and extreme poverty in their home country and cross the border into the U.S.  Below is a brief overview of this crisis, along with some resources for more in-depth information.
What are the numbers? Some 60,000 minors have arrived in the past eight months and more than 30,000 are expected in the next four months.  While the numbers have been increasing over the past two years, this is an exponential spike and this number is expected to increase.
Where they are coming from? A majority of the children currently arriving at the border come from the Central American countries of Honduras (28 percent), Guatemala (24 percent), and El Salvador (21 percent), with the bulk of remaining children coming from Mexico (25 percent).
Why are they coming? There are several main push factors: faltering economies, large youth population, and rising crime and gang activity.  There are also pull factors: the desire for family reunification and changing operations of smuggling networks.
What happens to the children when they get to the U.S.? If a child migrant enters the U.S. as a national of Mexico he/she is eligible for voluntary return as long as this person is not a victim of trafficking. Children from Central American countries are quickly transferred by the Border Patrol into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They are then released into the custody of a relative or family friend. The 10 percent or so that cannot locate a relative are placed into foster care. Currently, the average wait in ORR custody is 35 days.  With existing children’s shelters at capacity, military installations are housing many of these children during this wait.
As they are released to a relative, the children are put into removal proceedings.  This involves being scheduled for immigration court in the community where they are to live. At this time, the average wait before their court date is 18 months.  60 to 90 percent of unaccompanied children are eligible for immigration relief, allowing them to remain in the United States legally. Those granted relief are typically given asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status (for children who can establish in a state juvenile court that they were abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents), or a U or T visa (for children who were victims of certain crimes or human trafficking).
 
How is JFON addressing this issue?
JFON’s legal expertise and national infrastructure places it in a unique position to respond to this current crisis both in the short-term and the long-term.  Our staff attorney at JFON Austin has extensive experience in SIJ cases and relationships with providers in Texas, where we plan to collaborate.  National Justice For Our Neighbors is currently finalizing ways to assist with immediate legal needs within shelters where minors are housed. To address the longer-term need, NFJON is actively pursuing funding to build the network’s capacity to undertake Special Immigrant Juvenile cases for these unaccompanied minors. We will keep you updated as plans progress!
More information on this issue is located here on our website.
The information for this article was compiled from Migration Policy Institute, specifically the June 13, 2014 articleand the June 25, 2014 telebriefing

UMCOR Responds to Immigration Crisis

June 25, 2014—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responded today to a plea by the Southwest Texas Conference/Rio Grande Conference for emergency assistance to meet urgent needs of a “rising flow” of refugees crossing into the United States from Mexico.

In response to an appeal by Bishop James E. Dorff, who heads the joined conferences, Greg Forrester, UMCOR executive in charge of U.S. Disaster Response, expedited an emergency grant and told Bishop Dorff, “Our prayers are with you and the conference as you respond to this humanitarian crisis.”

Forrester indicated that UMCOR has been monitoring the situation at the border and the rising tide of need in its wake. He said he has been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Homeland Security, and White House Faith-based Initiatives to gauge an appropriate response.

According to the UMCOR executive, large numbers of women and children who have crossed the U.S./Mexico border and been apprehended by U.S. authorities there, have subsequently appeared on the steps of United Methodist border facilities and churches, and have received shelter, food, and other basic supplies.

Read more here and here and here.

Your gift to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670, will enable UMCOR’s response to this and other emergencies.

A Humanitarian Crisis

SOURCE: AP/Eric Gay

Detainees play as others sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas.

Léalo en español

The number of children fleeing violence by themselves to the United States from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador has skyrocketed over the past few months. No less than 47,017 children have arrived so far in 2014—a 92 percent increase from 2013—and as many as 90,000 children are expected by year’s end. These children are escaping danger in their homelands and running for safety not only to the United States, but also to neighboring nations including Panama, Belize, and Costa Rica.

As attention on this issue shifts from the nation’s southern border to inside the Beltway, it’s important to keep the following five facts in mind.

1. Violence is causing these children to flee
2. Smugglers and traffickers prey on these children, who are increasingly younger and female
3. This is a regional crisis
4. There are no free passes into the United States as unaccompanied minors can be deported
5. Some in Congress are playing politics with a humanitarian issue

Both short- and long-term solutions are needed

As the number of children crossing the border increases, major challenges remain. Reports findthat the U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed. Its facilities, as recent images show, are not appropriate for children and it is urgent that the government finds more suitable shelters and accommodations. The following are a few of the many actions the government can and should take:

  • The administration must ensure that children are released from ORR custody into safe environments—preferably to a family member, not to someone who might do them harm.
  • Likewise, it is critical to ensure that these children have access to counsel as they move through the immigration system. There is no guaranteed right to counsel in immigration law, even for children. The Obama administration has just announced a new program to bring 100 lawyers and paralegals to wherever they are needed in order to provide counsel for unaccompanied minors. While is a good first step, many more lawyers will be needed to truly address the scope of the problem.
  • Passing immigration reform would also help mitigate the crisis by clearing the backlog of people waiting for visas and allowing parents in the United States to sponsor their children to immigrate legally.
  • The government must also crack down on smugglers and traffickers by using immigration enforcement resources to identify and apprehend those that are exploiting unaccompanied minors.
  • We must support efforts in the sending countries to reintegrate those children that return to their home countries and to mitigate the dangers that are forcing children to flee in the first place.
To read entire article :  click here

Shocking Photos Of Humanitarian Crisis On U.S. Border Emerge

An Article from Huffington Post – Posted: Updated: 

Disturbing images of children warehoused along the border by the federal government emerged on Friday, posted by Breitbart Texas reporter Brandon Darby.
The haunting pictures show a system overwhelmed by children and families detained by Customs and Border Protection, reflecting a growing humanitarian crisis. A spokesperson for CBP did not dispute the authenticity of the photos. “CBP has not officially released any photos at this time in order to protect the rights and privacy of unaccompanied minors in our care,” a statement from CBP read. The president acknowledged earlier this week that the situation had reached crisis levels on the border, as children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador flee deepening poverty and violence. Nearly 50,000 children have been caught crossing the border without parents since Oct. 1, The New York Times reported Monday. “The influx of unaccompanied children across the southwest border has resulted in an urgent humanitarian situation,” a Department of Homeland Security official emailed on background. “The President has directed Secretary Johnson to establish an interagency Unified Coordination Group to ensure unity of effort across the Administration in responding effectively to this humanitarian situation. This effort, lead and coordinated by FEMA, is quickly marshalling resources across the government to provide humanitarian relief to affected children. Addressing the rising flow of unaccompanied children crossing our southwest border is an important priority of this Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.”

To view pictures and read full story:  click here

Losing the Empathy Gap

We want to link you to a good article by Daniel Alliott – salon.com on the immigration argument:

The way we treat immigrants is wrongheaded and counterproductive. Yes, they really are acting out of love

“What would you do in their shoes?” That’s the question I ask my fellow conservative friends whenever we debate immigration, and in particular the question of what should happen to immigrants who illegally cross the U.S. border. “What would you do if your family were hungry, your wages minuscule, and your government so corrupt or incompetent that there was little hope of conditions improving any time soon?”

The question became newly relevant recently when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made headlines by suggesting that love prompts many foreign nationals to illegally enter the U.S. They come, he said:

“… because their families – the dad who loved their children – was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.”

To Read more:  click here 

#NOT1MORE and Prayer for Families

April 4-6 pray for families to stay together

Call to stop deportations

by Bill Mefford on March 14, 2014

Stop Deportations

President Obama will only listen if you and I speak up.

We are approaching 2 million deportations, but are not anywhere closer to reforming the U.S.’s broken immigration system. Deportations have devastated communities and torn apart families. It is time to pray and act so that President Obama ends his policy of mass deportations.

We can end deportations. We really can.

Check out the video “President Obama: Yes You Can.” The video shows why and how we can end this devastating policy.

President Obama came into office wanting to prove to Republicans that through record deportations he could be trusted with enforcement. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said just a few weeks ago, though, that despite deporting 2 million people President Obama still cannot be trusted.

To read more about geniune reform and call to stop barbaric practice:

End deportations, pass immigration reform

1100 Calls to End Deportations

Every day 1100 people are deported. The Obama Administration will reach 2 million deportations very soon. That’s 2 million people since 2009!

People of faith are urged to call 1-888-907-2053 to tell President Obama to stop deportations.

Can we get 1100 people to call President Obama?

Take action today to keep families together and create and lasting change for our immigrant brothers and sisters.  After you make the call, be sure to forward this email or a link to the action page (http://umc-gbcs.org/blog/take-action-1100-calls-to-president-obama-end-deportations).

The United Methodist Church affirms the worth, dignity, and inherent value and rights of all persons regardless of their nationality or legal status.” (Welcoming the Migrant to the US, #3281, 2012 Book of Resolutions)

The Church urges people of faith to “call the United States government to immediately cease all arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.”

Link to GBCS website and sample script

Immigration reform battle centers on conservative Tea Party bloc

By Alexander Bolton and Russell Berman – 01/26/14 12:00 PM EST
The immigration reform debate in the House could boil down to a handful of influential Tea Party conservatives. Proponents and opponents of creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and other reforms have zeroed in on “peer leaders” in the House GOP. These conservatives include Reps. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Trey Gowdy (S.C.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.) and Steve Scalise (La.).

While there are vocal factions on either side of the debate, the battle for immigration reform will be fought over a bloc of lawmakers who have stayed relatively quiet on the issue. Many of them will take their lead from conservative colleagues they respect more than House GOP leaders or big business groups.

Both sides are battling for 117 Republican votes because Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will only move legislation that has the support of a majority of the 233-member GOP conference.

To read more>> http://thehill.com/homenews/house/196427-the-gop-lawmakers-who-may-decide-fate-of-immigration-reform#.UuWdQKJfrHI.twitter

 

Your Calls Are Needed to Stop Cuts to Refugee Program

Call your members of Congress now!

As Congress gets nearer to a budget deal, it is likely that the Office of Refugee Resettlement will not receive the funding it needs, which would likely result in drastic cuts to services. Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you that a funding increase is drastically needed to ensure that ORR can adequately welcome refugees, unaccompanied children and all of the populations under it’s care. Please prioritize making phone calls TODAY and throughout this week and spread the word.

You can help today … just by making a phone call!

To Learn More Click Here