June 3, 2014 STATEMENT — LIRS Applauds Obama’s Announcement on Coordinated Response to UACs

For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org, 410-230-2841

Baltimore, MD — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is pleased and gratified by the President’s announcement of a coordinated response to the growing humanitarian emergency of unaccompanied children fleeing their homelands in Central America and coming across the US Southwest Border. We welcome the involvement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the efforts of the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to forge an interagency United Coordination Group that will respond to this humanitarian crisis.

For 75 years, LIRS has worked with children journeying alone across international borders in search of safety. These young people have critical needs for housing, food, and immediate care. They also have urgent protection and child welfare needs; we hope these will be made a top priority in the days ahead. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration, the faith community, child welfare and social service agencies, and the families concerned to mitigate this crisis, and to help these children in need.


As the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., LIRS works closely with federal agencies and partners to care for migrant children. Although many children are united with family members who already live in the U.S, some are not. LIRS places children who do not have caregivers with foster care programs that find families to care for them, arranges for volunteer attorneys, and enrolls them in school and other community-based programs. For children who are referred for family reunification services, LIRS ensures their safe release to appropriate, safe and secure environments, and provides ongoing support to ensure stability in these young people’s lives.

The LIRS backgrounder on unaccompanied children may be read here.