FAN Response to President's Announcement on Minors

July 3, 2014

As you may know, this week President Obama made two announcements regarding immigration and the crisis on the border with influx of children from Central America.  One was a letter to Congressional leadership on the administration’s response to unaccompanied children at the border, and the other was a speech in which the President indicated future administrative action on immigration in light of the failure of House Republicans to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  Several faith organizations have issued press releases in response to these announcements, some expressing outrage at the President’s misguided deportation strategy, and others commending the President for indicating he would take executive action within his authority to address the 11 million or more immigrants desiring legal status. Rather than make a statement to the media, FAN would like to clarify its position for its members.

We, too, are very disturbed by the President’s announced plan to expedite the deportation of Central American children back to the violence they are fleeing, not only to the United States but to other countries as well.  The administration seems to place greater emphasis on deportation than on protection of children seeking safety.  We are also very concerned that the administration will bypass the protections of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 and remove children apprehended at the border through a non-judicial process.  FAN has joined 200 other faith and immigration organizations in signing a letter to the President formulated by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) expressing these concerns and urging him to reconsider plans to quickly expedite these children.

We have also disseminated to all institutional members information from the USCCB Anti-Trafficking Coalition about various ways that assistance can be offered to these vulnerable children and families.

At the same time, we challenge those in Congress who have refused to act for immigration reform and now blame the influx of children from Central America on the administration’s executive action to provide temporary assistance to young undocumented immigrants through DACA.  Some have written to the President calling on him to cancel DACA.  This is unacceptable to play partisan games with people’s lives.  Members of the House should put politics aside and enact immigration reforms that would benefit not only the millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in this country for years, but the country as a whole.

As our country celebrates its founding and heritage of freedom during the Fourth of July holiday, as well as “liberty and justice for all,” we pray that as a nation we recommit ourselves to these principles.  FAN calls on the President to focus on humanitarian assistance for the children crossing the border, stop his plan to quickly expedite them, and to examine the root causes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador which motivate this rush to the United States and other countries.  FAN also continues to call on the House of Representatives to do the right thing and move immigration reform forward—the time is now.