[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the current crisis of unaccompanied children and families at the United States border.
The influx of vulnerable people from Central America, including unaccompanied minors as well as mothers with children, continues to challenge the United States to respond compassionately. Like Sudanese or Syrian refugees, these people are fleeing hunger, violence, and the fear of rape, murder, and enslavement. The violence in Central America has escalated significantly in recent months, particularly as a result of gangs and trafficking in drugs and human beings. These people are literally fleeing for their lives.
The United States has a checkered history in responding to refugee crises. We shut our eyes and ears, as well as our ports, during the crimes against Jews and other vulnerable persons in the midst of the Second World War. We have been more welcoming to Sudanese youths looking for survival in the last 20 years.
The Episcopal Church believes we have a responsibility to all our neighbors, particularly the strangers and sojourners around us. We have been resettling refugees since 1939. Today, Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) and Episcopal Relief & Development are working with churches and dioceses in areas where these Central American women and children are being served.
Episcopalians are responding with prayers and concern, and asking how to help. I urge you to remember these people and their difficult and dangerous position in your prayers – today, this coming Sunday, and continuing until we find a just resolution. The Episcopal Church has established an account to receive financial contributions to assist Episcopal Migration Ministries in this work. For details, please contact EMM@episcopalchurch.org
I would also encourage you to contact your legislators, and ask them to support an appropriate humanitarian response to this crisis. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, and as a Church, we are asking the United States government to support such a response, grounded in justice and the fundamental dignity of every human being. Our Office of Government Relations is submitting detailed testimony to a United States Senate hearing today, as that chamber prepares to consider a budget request from the President.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church