LIRS Responds to Crisis at the Border

Crisis At The Border

LIRS has been working diligently with government and service partners to care for Central American children and families fleeing to the US for refuge. The issue is not a new one. LIRS has been working with unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge for decades.

What is new is the unprecedented influx and controversy about our humanitarian response as a nation. In 2014 over 68,500 unaccompanied children crossed the US border in addition to over 68,400 women and children who arrived as family units. All have endured an incredibly dangerous journey to escape violence and despair caused by failed states in Central America. Current efforts to detain families in detention centers and then expedite their deportation place their need for humanitarian relief in jeopardy.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) continues to play a national advocacy role as well as a service role for these women and children throughout this humanitarian crisis. Through support from our donors and funding partners, LIRS provides a variety of initiatives to serve the partner network and to the migrant community.

In collaboration with a network of partners, LIRS helps to provide services to unaccompanied migrant children including providing short-term transitional and long-term foster care. The Give the Gift of Family campaign was established in response to a direct need for more foster families to come forward to serve these children. Currently LIRS is working to implement and provide new programs and resources to support the families and the community serving them.

The advocacy team located in the Washington DC office remains in front of congress and the President for the humane treatment and basic human rights for the migrant community. Multiple LIRS staff have visited detention centers around the United States to continue to advocate for an end to detainment of families and children.

As one of the many resources LIRS produced , First Steps is a manual to help refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants navigate the complex system of laws, agencies, and public and private systems they must master by providing important information on legal rights, responsibilities, and eligibility for services and benefits such as healthcare and education, according to immigration status.

To gather together community leaders, LIRS hosted a convening with leaders of the Lutheran community- nonprofit and church leaders, to talk about push and pull factors in the border crisis and ways to collaborate and share information and resources to better serve the families and children affected.

Get Involved

For more information, contact Melissa Blauvelt or call 877-291-1061

For media inquiries, contact Miji Bell at


Get Information

Backgrounder on Unaccompanied Children with policy recommendations

Information on Critical Protections for Children Under Current U.S. Law

LIRS Advocacy Initiatives

‘LIRS CEO and Faith Leaders Tour Dilley Detention Center and Announce Letter to President Obama’

Report on Forced Migration of Unaccompanied Children

‘Locking Up Family Values, Again’

Report on Alternatives to Detention

Border Crisis Mythbuster

‘First Steps: An LIRS Guide for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Migrants released from Detention’

The Journey: Lutheran Response to the 2014 Border Crisis And Why Unaccompanied Minors Still Need You

International Lutheran Roundtable