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Statement Regarding Unaccompanied Minors [Updated 7-29-14]

The spirit and values which guide Hope Community Center are Gospel mandates. Love, hospitality, solidarity and service are at the core of the message of Jesus Christ and require of us, who claim to be people of faith, a concrete response to the people who are suffering and to the root causes of their life threatening distress. “I have come that you may have LIFE and LIFE in abundance”, says Jesus. “Welcome the Stranger among you, treat him as one of your own”, says the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Hope CommUnity Center recognizes these migrant children as refugees fleeing not only extreme poverty but life threatening violence. “I have set before you life and death, choose life that you and your people may live”, says God and so families risk all to seek a future for their children and a solution to the immediate and real threat of death. As people of faith we must respond to the humanitarian needs of these child refugees and welcome them with respect, compassion and dignity. And so we do.

The Hope CommUnity Center does not wish to participate in the inappropriate politicizing of this situation. As always HCC responds to the needs of the suffering human beings.
HCC is committed to:

• the recognition and treatment of these migrant children fleeing violence as refugees
• the right of these refugee children to the protection of due process
• the collaborative efforts of all people of good will to find a humane solution to this situation

HCC is also committed to the deeper and difficult discussion about the root causes of this migration and the need to address the push/pull factors which influence the desperate decision of poor suffering people, especially children, to make this risk filled journey.

HCC is responding to the needs of the children who have been released from detention and united with extended family members who are caring for the children while they are in immigration proceedings. HCC is teaching English, Basic Life Skills and most importantly creating a safe space and activities for the children to get to know one another, make new friends, feel safe, welcomed and supported in this new environment while their immigration situation gets sorted out.

Furthermore HCC advocates for the following policies:
* We support funding in the Supplemental Appropriations bill that will
provide for the care of families and children fleeing violence and address the root
causes of forced migration.

* We strongly oppose any rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection
Act. Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe
situations. They must be protected and cared for humanely.

* We expect Congress and the White House to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a
child’s safety for expediency. The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.”

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