Faith Leaders Urge Congress to Fund Aid for Families Torn Apart by Trump’s ‘Cruel’ Family Separation Policy – Baptist News Global

More than 400 religious leaders and faith groups signed a letter Aug. 1 urging Congress to fund social and legal services for immigrants who are victims of the Trump administration’s infamous family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Organizations such as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Fellowship Southwest, Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and American Baptist Churches in the United States press leaders of the United States House and Senate to address the injustices that politics have imposed on thousands of parents and children.

“We urge Congress to authorize and fund the support and stability these families need to heal. In its Fiscal Year 2023 funding bill, congressional officials should ensure that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has the legal authority to use funds available to it and additional funds to provide refugee resettlement services. foundation – including behavioral health, legal advice, family case management and mental health. care services – to families who have been separated, especially those here on parole.

At least 5,500 children were taken by the US government from their parents, older siblings and other guardians on the southern border in 2017 and 2018 during Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” campaign against immigrants.

At least 5,500 children have been abducted by the US government of their parents, older siblings and other guardians on the southern border in 2017 and 2018 during Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” campaign against immigrants. As part of the practice designed to scare away asylum seekers and other migrants, children were incarcerated when their parents were deported, and US authorities failed to keep adequate records of the separations and often deliberately prevented the groupings.

The Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force has helped reconnect more than 260 children with their parents or other guardians since 2021, but in most of those cases families have received little or no needed support. to recover from the trauma of their experiences, according to the letter was also signed by the National Association of Evangelicals, the Episcopal Church, Catholic Charities USA and the Latino Christian National Network.

“Some families were reunited after months, but for others it took years. Thousands more families remain separated today,” the faith leaders and organizations said in the letter.

Since last year, parents in some cases were allowed to enter the United States on humanitarian parole. But status includes access to case management, mental health care or family support services administered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services. The task force also does not guarantee access to safe environments for families reunited in the United States.

“Child-parent separation has profound and devastating consequences for children of all ages. Tearing a vulnerable child from their parent has a significant mental, physical and emotional impact and creates a wound that cannot be easily healed, even upon reunification. In a leading academic study of family separation, 100% of children forcibly separated from their parents at the border had symptoms of PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder.

“In a leading academic study of family separation, 100% of children forcibly separated from their parents at the border had symptoms of PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder.”

Religious leaders and organizations also urged the White House to use its authority and funds to help these families: “The family separation policy violated the sanctity of the family and did not live up to the values ​​of our nation. Many of us at the time expressed serious concerns about the cruelty of the policy and its impact on the well-being of so many children. No matter where someone is from or how they arrived in the United States, their life has value and they should be treated with dignity and respect. Now, we urge Congress and the administration to do more to heal those hurt by family separation. Without additional services, many families cannot and will not be successfully reunited. »

The Biden administration has also received letters. In late July, more than 110 faith-based and other organizations called on the president to end migrant protection protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Trump-era rule allows federal government to send asylum seekers back to Mexico pending court proceedings in the United States

The groups pointed out that a June 30 U.S. Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the White House to end the program, but it has yet to do so.

“The government must start the critical work needed to end the MPP once and for all – and to undo the harm it has caused,” said Melissa Crow, director of litigation at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, in a statement from Welcome with Dignity press.

“The realities of the Remain in Mexico program are those of violence and prey to the most vulnerable among us,” said Marisa Limón Garza, senior director of advocacy and programming at the Hope Border Institute. “What I see now in accompanying, in serving, in walking with people impacted by this program – it is a family separation program, it is a program that directly impacts vulnerable people and it is collateral damage that the United States is prepared to endure…. What I can strongly attest to is that this administration must recognize the humanitarian reality that is at stake, and we cannot wait until after the midterm to act.

Esther Sung, legal director of the Justice Action Center, agreed that now was the time for the administration to act.

“We will continue to advocate for an asylum system that respects the inherent dignity of every person who comes to our country seeking safety,” Sung said. “As we celebrate a Supreme Court order that allows the Biden administration to remove the moral and legal stain of Remain in Mexico, the next few weeks will be crucial in determining whether we can create a system in which everyone who comes here are really safe. ”

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Biden administration begins next campaign to reunite children separated from families by Trump

400 faith leaders call on Trump to end immigrant family separations

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