The situation involving children, and truly all those seeking asylum on our border, continues to evolve but our office has continued to investigate and inquire and we now have more information to share.
Before I do that, I want to say that I have had so many ask what can be done, and what they can do specifically. I continue to put Cristosal on any list when this is asked. I serve on its Board, and have for several years. It is the one organization that is working in the very countries where most of these folks are coming from – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This is the root cause. The border is not the issue. The issue is why would anyone risk their lives and the lives of their children to make this journey. You may have seen the haunting picture last night of a father and his 23-month-old daughter both dead, face down, in the Rio Grande River, her arm still around her father. Both died trying to feel this violence and danger. The answer is the conditions they live in now, the danger they live with every day, much of it created by our U.S. policies over the past years, Republican and Democrat. The current administration has not only not helped this but has just recently cut most of the aid going to organizations such as Cristosal making it even more imperative to support them. So, please, do not simply ask the questions you know we all should be asking, “What can I do?” But when that question is answered, take the next step and do something. Even $10, $5, given to Cristosal will be used effectively and efficiently and is so needed right now. Please stop reading, and GIVE! (https://www.cristosal.org/give).
Second, we have checked about sending supplies to the detention centers and it has been confirmed that this would be a waster of resources because for now the centers will not and cannot accept them.
Third, some have suggested that we keep a list of all those willing to house children should that possibility ever be offered. We are hearing that is not imminent and most likely would not be a plan in the long term, but even with that news I would urge you to consider if you and your family would be willing to offer space and a home if that happened. While, for now, we have decided not to be the keepers of such a list, I do believe it is time to contemplate and pray on the idea so you are ready should this come to fruition. Now, for some additional resources and upcoming webinars on the matter.
The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations will be holding an educational webinar on border advocacy and ministry, co-hosted with Episcopal Migration Ministries and featuring Bishop Michael Hunn of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. The webinar is July 2, 12:30pm PDT and will cover both advocacy and tangible ministry actions of the church, along with ways to get involved. Registration is required and the webinar will be recorded. You can register to attend by following the link here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MNfbZ_J4Qia0MMqlXN9wAg?fbclid=IwAR2cGvRrq4_c3BLNkYzFZFXhmfBTQJaCarwDEM89tpm2G7O-6A5emp8HDZs
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) has released a statement about conditions on the border. Our own Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, has signed onto this statement, along with other faith leaders: https://www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7982
The Office of Government Relations also has a wide array of advocacy resources on their website that can be found here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/OGR/migration-refugees-immigration
Episcopal Migration Ministries (https://episcopalmigrationministries.org) has created an online network for individuals engaged in ministry to refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants to come together and share resources and information, ask questions, and get connected. It’s free to join and offers access to professionals in the field, people running amazing ministries, and people who are simply eager to learn how to help. Follow the link here for more information and to register: https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/partnersinwelcome/