Love in Action: Meeting Vulnerable Children & Their Needs At the Border
If you have been following the news, you know that the United States has a new crisis on our southern border, where an unprecedented number of minors are now fleeing violence and crossing in to the United States—and alone.
A recent CNN report chronicles the crisis, which is categorized as one of epic proportions, and indicates that there is no end in sight. “The number of children making these journeys by themselves has doubled each year since 2010,” the report reads. “U.S. authorities estimate that between 60,000 and 80,000 children will seek safe haven from organized crime violence this year. Immigrant rights agencies project that number could soar to 130,000 next year.” The report goes on to say that some of the children are as young as 4, some with notes from parents pinned onto their clothes with information for how to contact relatives already living in the United States.
Not only is their journey to the United States dangerous, but they are also vulnerable to dangers such as human traffickers. In addition, many arrive ill and undernourished, and certainly afraid. The need is tremendous, but government and private agencies do not have the resources to properly care for this influx of so many vulnerable children. Many of the children in custody are being transferred to cities quite a distance away from the border to be able to house them until a decision can be made about where they will go next. But the living conditions available at the border with this surge have been, at the least, less than ideal.
Yes, fleeing across the border into the United States without permission is surrounded by many political issues, but God calls us to love the alien and refugee. And love is action. In addition, after learning more about why these children are seeking safety, I am even more convinced that we must try to help them. These children are leaving their families—often sent on this journey by their families—because in their own countries, young boys are forced to join gangs where they are in danger of being shot or killed as part of the gangs, or killed because they refuse to join a gang. Girls as young as 10 are being raped and killed. Families who work hard and can barely meet their child’s basic needs are being forced to pay large sums in “protection money” to the very same individuals threatening their family.
Whatever your political views about immigration, refugees and the current crisis in Central America these are extremely vulnerable children who need protection and support. The U.S. government has asked Bethany to give assistance, and we have prepared a team of our refugee program experts to determine what we can do to make a difference in the lives of these children, in addition to the services we already provide in the area. Please pray for the children crossing our borders, for our work, and for all agencies—private and government—striving to protect and care for “the least of these” in this current crisis.
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