Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed it has begun to target parents and caretakers of unaccompanied children for deportation and possible criminal charges. This means that parents of children fleeing violence who are looking for better lives can face charges for trying to provide safety for their families. As Christians, we know that Jesus is present among the most vulnerable. Policies that harm these families do not honor our church’s values.
As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) targets families, Congress is figuring out how much money they will allocate to the agency for next fiscal year. The Administration has requested an additional $4.5 billion, (23% more than the 2016 budget), to expand detentions and deportations. This increase will come at the expense of programs that assist low-income and middle-income families in the U.S., provide life-saving care for people overseas, and fund assistance for refugees domestically and abroad.
Last year, the ELCA Church Council passed the AMMPARO strategy to strengthen our church’s commitment to accompany Central American children and families that have fled violence, persecution, hunger and poverty or environmental degradation. We have been blessed to see the faces of and pray together with the children and families that DHS is targeting today. They are not security threats; they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.