Refugee Crisis on our Border: How you can help

Instead of going to school, playing with friends, and enjoying time with family, tens of thousands of children from Central America flee their homes embarking on a dangerous trek north to the United States. Extreme violence and the lack of opportunity at home, and the desire to reunite with parents and other family members drive these kids to make the perilous journey without a parent or guardian. They are all under the age of 18.

The number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border has alarmingly increased, doubling every year since 2011. This year alone, as many as 90,000 children could arrive, creating a humanitarian crisis in need of our attention. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, close to 60 percent are fleeing violence and have international protection claims. At the same time, nearly 40,000 young mothers with children have also entered the U.S. and are being placed in detention centers. They will likely be exposed to expedited removal from the U.S., without the opportunity to make their case before an immigration judge.

Just this week, the Obama Administration requested additional funding (through what is referred to as a ‘supplemental’) from Congress for fiscal year 2014 to address these concerns. Now is the time to raise your voice to help protect these vulnerable children and mothers!

The Catholic Church is responding to the plight of these children based on the principles of Catholic social teaching that all people have a right to migrate, but also the right not to migrate and to meet their needs where they are. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)/Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) provides extensive child welfare and other critical services to this highly vulnerable child population. Meanwhile, Catholic Relief Services addresses the reasons why children make the perilous journey to the U.S., implementing education, leadership and work skill training programs to help these kids stay and flourish in their home communities. It also helps to revitalize economies in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to provide more economic opportunities.

Take Action Today! Add your voice to the call to help children in need today! Contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to:
 Oppose the Obama Administration’s request for “fast track” authority to speed the removal of unaccompanied children back to their countries without due process protections;
 Provide adequate funding to protect unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. and respond to their basic needs, including legal representation while their immigration case is pending;
 Address the root causes that compel children to flee their homes by providing robust funding for targeted development programs in Central America and Mexico and a comprehensive regional plan to address this issue; and,
 Enable the safe, orderly return and reintegration of children who are deported to their home communities.

from Catholic Relief Services

Baghdad Archbishop Doesn’t Recommend International Involvement Says Iraqi Leaders Must Solve Problem of Extremist Take-overs

Rome, June 16, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 539 hits

The international community should not intervene in the struggle against ISIS extremists in Iraq, according to the archbishop of Baghdad, who says the priority is for Iraqi leaders to “work together” to overcome the crisis.

In an interview today with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Jean Sleiman stressed that political “consensus” within Iraq was critical in overcoming the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which last week pulled off a series of military take-overs of key northern cities including Mosul, the country’s second city.johnsleiman

Speaking from Baghdad, the archbishop described how many people were trying to leave the city, fearing an onslaught from ISIS amid reports of it pressing south towards the capital.

He reported that, with many roads out of the capital blocked, departures from Baghdad’s airport were fully booked until the end of the month.

The archbishop, who became Latin-rite Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad in 2001, said: “In responding to this crisis, the international community should think of the common good, not their own interests. They should think of peace.”

Speaking out against intervention by the international community, Archbishop Sleiman said: “ISIS needs to be stopped… and it needs the Iraqi leaders to work together to stop it. That is more important than getting the international community involved.”

He added: “I hope Iraqi leaders will find a consensus about how to tackle this situation or there will be a tragic outcome.”

The archbishop said: “I don’t know what will happen next. Of course the military will resist ISIS but who knows if it will be strong enough.

“It is a possibility that the terrorists will succeed but we don’t know.”

See the full article here.