Immigration

Join Our Call to Action to End Family Detention

Contact Your Elected Officials and Ask for an End to Family Detention

Join Our Call to Action to End Family Detention
In McAllen, Texas, United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño reads letters with a boy who traveled from Guatemala with his mother.

This past summer thousands of children, alone or with families, crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to seek safety in the U.S. They fled extreme violence and poverty in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and faced abuse and violence as they crossed Mexico. When the issue gained national attention, it became politicized by electoral politics — and the U.S. Administration stepped up enforcement, detention and deportation.

United Methodists responded with an outpouring of love, care and support. These children and families are indeed the faces of Jesus Christ in our midst. Jesus said, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40), and United Methodists are living out that call, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. The United Methodist Book of Resolutions states: “We are urged by God through Christ to love our neighbor and to do what we must to bring healing in the midst of pain, and to restore to wholeness those whose lives are shattered by injustice and oppression.”

United Methodist Women encourages you to contact your elected officials and the White House, asking to end family detention. It violates international law, it criminalizes women and children who should have refugee status or a temporary protection status due to the dangers in their home countries, and it subjects the detainees to fear, isolation, further hardship and abuse. These centers must be closed, not expanded.

Take Action

Join the Campaign to End Family Detention. On November 20, and ongoing, contact your elected officials to call for an end to family detention. November 20 is the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects children’s rights, including freedom from detention.

  • Find your senators and their phone numbers
  • Find your representative and call (202) 224-3121
  • What you can say:
    "My name is _____ calling from _____. I am a United Methodist Women member. As a constituent, I oppose immigrant family detention. Families held in DHS custody are seeking protection from violence, trafficking and domestic violence. Children require specialized medical, educational and legal support that detention facilities cannot provide. The president and DHS are seeking $879 million in funding for 6,350 additional family detention beds. The Obama administration has not waited for this funding and has already expanded family detention by 1200% between June-August 2014. I hope you will publicly speak out against family detention and contact the White House to express your alarm over this practice. I want to see Karnes, Texas, Artesia, New Mexico, Dilley, Texas, and all other family detention centers closed.
  • You can also sign the online petition of the United Methodist Women partner organization We Belong Together. Sign the petition “No More Kids in Detention

Join the Vigil

On November 20, join United Methodist Women and other advocates for a candlelight vigil calling for an end to family detention. The vigil will be followed by a forum held at the nearby Church Center for the United Nations.

  • Candlelight Vigil: 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza (First Ave. and East 47th St., New York)
  • Forum: 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Church Center for the United Nations (First Ave. at East 44th St., New York). If attending the forum, please RSVP to slamour@unitedmethodistwomen.org
Co-Sponsor Organizations: American Friends Service Committee, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Destination Unknown, Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, First Friends, Immigrant Defense Project, International Detention Coalition, Justice Strategies, Loretto at the UN, New Sanctuary Movement, Reformed Church of Highland Park, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, unicef, We Belong Together, Women’s Refugee Commission

A Brief History

Aside from the thousands of unaccompanied minors, thousands of Central American families have also been crossing the border. Many seek out Border Patrol when they first arrive to ask for asylum. Before the uptick in these asylum seekers made national news, families were often processed and then left at bus stations to make their way to a host family across the country, with a date for their immigration hearing. Once the surge in border crossings became politicized, the Administration was accused of maintaining “porous borders,” quickly followed by a marked increase of criminalizing Central American refugees.

Now families may get separated, with men held in detention and women and children released until their hearings. Some 500 Afro-Honduran women who arrived in the South Bronx in New York are forced to wear electronic ankle bracelets. Increasingly, women and children refugees are being jailed. This summer, the federal government re-instituted family detention centers on a massive scale, with facilities in Karnes, Texas (532 beds), Artesia, N.M. (672 beds) and a planned facility in Dilley, Texas (2,400 beds).

According to the White House, “We are surging government enforcement resources to increase our capacity to detain individuals and adults who bring their children with them and to handle immigration court hearings…as quickly and efficiently as possible while also protecting those who are seeking asylum. That will allow ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to return unlawful migrants from Central America to their home countries more quickly… In FY 2013, ICE removed 47,769 individuals from Guatemala, 37,049 from Honduras, and 21,602 from El Salvador.

For more information contact: Carol Barton, Immigrant & Civil Rights Initiative, cbarton@unitedmethodistwomen.org, (212) 682-3633.

Posted or updated: 11/11/2014 11:00:00 PM

Take Action


Download the Action Flyer:

PDF: Portable Document File  Action to End Family Detention


Join the Vigil

On November 20, join United Methodist Women and other advocates for a candlelight vigil calling for an end to family detention. The vigil will be followed by a forum held at the nearby Church Center for the United Nations.

  • Candlelight Vigil: 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza (First Ave. and East 47th St., New York)
  • Forum: 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Church Center for the United Nations (First Ave. at East 44th St., New York). If attending the forum, please RSVP to slamour@unitedmethodistwomen.org

Learn More:

*Immigration Justice

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