Justice Issue: Unaccompanied Children Crossing the U.S. Borders
Our Corporate Stance: Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids recognize, as a moral obligation, the need to protect children fleeing violence or oppression in their homelands.
Our Justice Position
The Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids have a long history of serving and caring for children in schools, hospitals and the orphanage of St. John’s Home here in Grand Rapids. Given our educational and social service history with children, we commit ourselves to act as their advocates in local, national and international communities. Two of the strategies to accomplish this are the following: 1) We will advocate for government policies that protect the health and well-being of children. And 2) We will collaborate with others in the educational, economic, ecclesial, social and legal communities to assure the safety and security of children.
We hear regularly from our Dominican Sisters serving in Central America of the dangers and violence that the people are living through. They recount the stories of families doing all they can to save their children from the violence around them. It is imperative that all of the involved countries, including the U.S., resolve to address the root causes of the conditions in Central America that have resulted in this mass exodus of children.
We stand with other congregations of Sisters and with the Bishops of the USA in calling for a resolution to this humanitarian crisis. We ask the good people of this community, this state and our country to join us in welcoming these vulnerable children who have left all they know, traveling thousands of treacherous miles for refuge from the dangers in their lives. The Gospel message is clear when Jesus says, “Whoever receives a child such as this in my name receives me. (Matt.18.5) Surely Jesus also loves these children. We are called to do the same.
Immediate Response (2014)
• Individually and corporately support the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s letter to the President asking for humane responses to this crisis, i.e., consider asylum status rather than deportation with the use of shelters and counseling; adequate legal representation; and maintaining funding for Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. paid to the root causes of the crisis the need for economic development, non-violent responses to the drug trade, and support of resources to protect women and children from the drug cartels.
• Continued support and companioning of immigrants in our community to achieve citizenship
• Challenging our congressional representatives for comprehensive immigration reform
• Supporting reputable agencies assisting the children
• Explore the issue in the Grand Rapids/West Michigan area to see if there is need to assist unaccompanied children and respond appropriately