UCC Issues Appeal to Assist Unaccompanied Child Refugees

July 30, 2014

Unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in the United States requires a robust humanitarian and advocacy response.  The number of unaccompanied children entering the United States has grown to more than 57,000 so far in 2014, up from 27,884 in 2013 and far fewer in years prior to that.  These children, and also some families, are fleeing drastic increases in gang-related violence and their governments’ inability or unwillingness to protect them, as well as fleeing extreme poverty.  They are seeking safety in the United States.

PRAY  for the protection of the children, who have travelled hundreds of miles to escape the violence in their home countries.  The United Methodist California-Pacific Conference has created some resources for you to download and use.

GIVE generously to children fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in the U.S.  UCC members, congregations, wider church and partner organizations have a long-term commitment to the just and loving treatment of neighbors at our national borders and beyond.  The UCC, from the beginning of the recent surge in the arrival of children from Central America, has been present and organizing others in key places to respond. 

You can multiply the impact of your contribution by joining with others to increasing the capacity of the UCC to address humanitarian needs and to shape the future.  Provide food, water, safe places, a listening pastoral ear, religious services, and legal assistance of access to the U.S. legal system to tell stories for official documentation.  Your participation in the annual and on-going One Great Hour of Sharing and Neighbors in Need   offerings involve you immediately in humanitarian responses and advocacy actions as needs arise.  Your gift to this special appeal involves you in specific action to assist the migrant children and families who have been entering the United States in steadily increasing numbers during 2014. 

The situation changes rapidly.  You are there in the right place at the right time.  

Make a secure on-line donation noting "Unaccompanied Children Refugees" in the comments section. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation noting support for “Unaccompanied Children Refugees". Gifts should then be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries/Justice and Witness Ministries. Donations may also be made out and sent directly to Justice and Witness Ministries/Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services - 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.


WRITE letters and JOIN common actions.

ACT - Both the Senate and House have introduced emergency funding bills to respond to the unaccompanied children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Call your Senators and Representatives. Tell them to REJECT rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and to INCREASE funding for refugee resettlement. Visit: tiny.cc/ProtectKids for more info and to take action.

COMMIT to long-term global relationships.  Supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, Don and Maryjane Westra serve through Global Ministries as missionaries in Honduras.  Read their first-hand account and call to action.

LEARN more background. The journey is long. On their way to the United States many children report experiencing extreme violence, rape, extortion and even torture.  Once crossing the border into the United States the children are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to be held for no longer than 72 hours.  They are then moved to temporary shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.  This office places the children in the care of family members already residing in the United States, with foster care families, or in detention facilities.  Children receive a “Notice to Appear” in immigration court where a judge will make the final determination if the child will be deported or remain in the U.S.  The Obama administration has asked Congress for emergency funding  to help support these government departments and immigration courts. 

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3214
blaufusm@ucc.org

Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org