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Help children leave detention now

People with heart shaped posters

The U.S. government is holding over 2,000 children in Homestead, FL. The Board of Church and Society suggests these steps.


REBECCA COLE

General Board of Church and Society

Many children have fled violence and poverty in Central America to seek asylum in the United States, only for U.S. immigration officials to tear them from their families.

They should be released to a family member or other sponsor. Instead, the children are spending weeks or months in inhumane detention.

Apart from being harmful to children, these policies are immoral and contrary to our Gospel mandate. The United Methodist Church has spoken out against them. It says, “We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children.” (Social Principles, ¶162.H)

Because of our faith, The United Methodist Church calls for an immigration system that is rooted in the inherent worth, dignity, value and human rights of migrants. We advocate for the “elimination of indefinite detention, [and the] incarceration of children.” (Book of Resolutions, 3281)

I spent Memorial Day with United Methodists, people of faith, teachers, students and community groups in Homestead. We came together to call on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to close the Homestead Detention Center and unite immigrant children with their families or sponsors.

Church and Society, in partnership with other faith-based organizations and community groups, is working to shut down the Homestead Detention Center and end child detention.

We’re asking you to do four things. Click on the headline to learn more.

Help young people send letters or drawings to Congress.

Have children and youth write letters to Congress, urging members to do everything they can to shut down the Homestead Detention Center, unite immigrant children with their families, and prevent other dentition centers from opening.

Send your own letter to Congress.

Let your members of Congress know that you’re a United Methodist, a follower of Christ and that separating and detaining children is bizarre, cruel and immoral. You can use our website to send an email right now to your representative and senators.

Sign our petition to the Department of Health and Human Services.

We’re partnering with several organizations to send a petition to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families, and Jonathan Hayes, acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The petition urges reunification of children with their sponsors and to close the Homestead Detention Center. We’ll deliver the petition June 12 at the March for Hope. If you’re in the Washington, D.C., area and wish to join, please email Rebecca Cole.

Host an event during the National Week of Action, June 9-16.

United Methodists teams, other people of faith and community partners will be hosting and attending End Child Detention events across the country June 9-16. Coordinate a vigil. Attend a march. Schedule a meeting with your member of Congress’s office. Raise awareness and generate support for ending child detention.

Thank you for your support for immigrant rights and for working to end child detention.

Note: The 2019 Michigan Annual Conference passed a resolution that calls upon the U.S. government to immediately terminate family separation and “zero tolerance” prosecution policies that rip families apart and prevent family reunification. Members affirmed the protection and reuniting of children and their families. (R#2019-10) 

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