LIRS Responds to 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.
LIRS programs staff and partners are working with the recently initiated Federal government program for the Central American Minors (CAM) Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) program. Programs supporting sponsors of unaccompanied children and providing mental health services to unaccompanied children at risk from gangs in the US were supported through LIRS crisis response work.
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.
- Consider becoming a foster parent through our Give the Gift of Family campaign or promoting it at your church or in your community.
- Send a message to your Members of Congress.
- Support the work of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
- Join a visitation ministry.
For more information, contact Matt Herzberg firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-291-1061
For media inquiries, contact Miji Bell at email@example.com.
Backgrounder on Unaccompanied Children with policy recommendations
Information on Critical Protections for Children Under Current U.S. Law