Unaccompanied children are coming to the U.S. due to rising levels of violence, gang activity, drug cartels and life threatening circumstances. Thus far over 60,000 children fleeing violence have come to the U.S. in 2014. According to the bi-partisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, passed in 2008 and signed by President George W. Bush, Health and Human Services are required to screen Central American children for humanitarian protection and asylum claims. Holding facilities have opened all over the country to house this mass influx of children. Many faith communities are responding by collecting goods to donate to the children and offering housing when possible.
In some situations immigration enforcement has dropped off released detainees at local bus stations or store parking lots. Often times these are vulnerable women and children who speak little to no English. They are released with no identification, money or cell phones, and only have a notice to appear document that provides them a court date for their case to be heard. Faith communities have been monitoring this situation and responding.
How Your Congregation Can Respond
Many congregations have provided support to Week of Compassion, and we have put those generous gifts to work. However, many folks continue to ask how they might help in other ways.
The direct service response for this vulnerable population is imperative to accompany them to safe spaces and to assist in reuniting them with their families. Our partners at CWS have produced a great resource on how to appropriately offer hospitality to those children and families seeking refuge.
You are also invited to send notes of support to children and families in the Artesia Detention Center, where Week of Compassion is supporting the pastoral needs. Instructions for doing so are available here in English or Spanish.
For more information about protocols and legal assistance for unaccompanied children, please see this fact sheet.
CAREER OPPORTUNITY ON THE GULF COAST
Our Friends at Back Bay Mission, a community ministry of the United Church of Christ, are seeking an Executive Director. The primary responsibilities of this position include serving as the visible spokesperson of the Mission and overseeing management and financial accountability of the organization and its 13 member staff according to the policies and procedures established by the Board of Directors. Effective representation of the Mission to constituencies on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in the United Church of Christ is also essential. Resumes and cover letters can be sent to Search Committee Chair David Yochum at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 19, 2014. More information about this position is available here.
JOPLIN MISSION TRIP PARTICIPANTS: WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!
Did you participate in a work trip organized by Disciples Volunteering or the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries? If so, please complete the attached survey by September 15th. We're evaluating our work there and need your input!
Here's the link to the survey.
We are grateful, as always, for the ways you put your Compassion into Action!
Director of Operations
This Week's Responses:
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Romania, Flood Relief
Development and Long-Term Recovery and Rehabilitation
Missouri, Long-Term Tornado Recovery