There was an overwhelming response on Sunday, July 6 from Omahans wanting to know why so many children are fleeing Central America
Over 110 people attended an OTOC workshop on Sunday, July 6 at St. Leo the Great to hear first-hand about how violence and human rights violations in Honduras are resulting in the unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing that country to the U.S. Mercy Associate Aida Gonzalez Melana shared her experience of living in Honduras where she witnesses regular violence that is the result of a failed state where there is no effective police force and there is increasing gang activity. These dynamics are related to the extreme poverty of most families and exploitation of the poor by powerful economic interests. Professor David Weber of Creighton Law School explained the humanitarian and legal framework that the U.S. has for handling unaccompanied minors who cross the U.S. border and why that system is currently overwhelmed by the 50,000 children who have fled Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador this year.
The OTOC Immigration Action Team seeks to learn about this important issue in order to urge our elected and appointed officials to make wise policy decisions that relieve the current humanitarian crisis and address the long term roots of the violence and poverty causing this mass migration. OTOC leaders passed out these background articles:
Thank you for coming to the OTOC Forum “Children on America’s Borders” on July 6. The energy, enthusiasm and concern were inspirational. We encourage you to consider the following:
Learn more about our Immigration system and unaccompanied children:
1. Attend “Documented” a film by an undocumented American Tuesday July 15 at 7 pm at Urban Abbey 1026 Jackson Street www.documentedthefilm.com
Call your members of Congress and sign petitions
Consider E-MAIL or MAILING
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service http://lirs.org/actoflove/
We call upon our Senators and Representative to join the President and do what is necessary:
- Provide emergency funds: Make enough funds available to address this humanitarian crisis. It’s a large-scale disaster that calls for an immediate and generous response.
- Improve protections: Ensure that the best interest of children are upheld without compromise.
- Collaborate creatively: Work with the faith community, non-governmental agencies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the governments of the countries where these children come from, and all who care about this humanitarian disaster act with creativity and purpose to give these kids safety.
Jesuit Refugee Service http://jrsusa.org
- Stop the proposal to divert $94 Million from existing refugee resettlement programs in order to fund the response to this crisis
CALL your Representative and both your Senators using the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 to express your concern for these children and ask Congress to allocate the resources necessary to handle this humanitarian crisis.
Support humanitarian efforts of non-profits meeting needs of these children:
a. Justice for Our Neighbors, NE: 2414 “E” Street Omaha, NE 68107 Phone: (402) 898-1349
b. Catholic Charities https://support.catholiccharitiesusa.org
c. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service http://lirs.org/
Learn more about the root causes of the crisis and what we can do together
Join the Resisting Structural Evil Reading group with Sr. Kathleen Erickson, RSM
Join us at the next OTOC Immigration Action Team Meeting: Monday July 21st at 5:30 pm at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church 1326 South 26th Street (near 26th and Woolworth)
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