Target: Terry Branstad, Governor of Iowa
Goal: Urge the governor to exercise compassion by welcoming undocumented immigrant children currently fleeing across the U.S. border to escape violence in Central America
Honduras currently has the highest murder rate of any nation on Earth, writes the The Guardian. Children have become frequent casualties of the gang warfare and drug cartels there, and in the neighboring nations of El Salvador and Guatemala. The crisis has pushed many Central American parents to send their children north through Mexico and into the United States in hopes of saving their lives. And while some politicians have welcomed these refugees, others like Iowa Governor Terry Branstad have made it clear they want no part in sheltering immigrant children.
This well-documented humanitarian crisis continues to impact the lives of countless families in Central America. Some raucous protestors in border states have attempted to re-frame the issue as a matter of national security, rather than one of refugees fleeing deadly violence. Many of those who make it to the border are either housed in detention facilities or else sent back to face the violence they so narrowly escaped.
Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick has responded by offering to help the often unaccompanied migrant youth find safety and temporary shelter. Sadly, many other local efforts have been shot down by citizens needlessly concerned, for example, about exotic diseases the children may have says news outlet Common Dreams. While Governor Branstad claims to have empathy for the children, he has also spoken publicly against the idea of young refugees coming to his state.
This is a time when human beings need to stand together, regardless of nationality, to ensure the safety of vulnerable youth fleeing terrible violence. Demand that Governor Branstad show real compassion and offer to help shelter these young refugees.
Dear Governor Branstad,
America is caught in the midst of a truly tragic immigration crisis–although it is not the same crisis you imagine it to be. The real issue isn’t simply the security of the nation’s border with Mexico. Far beyond this, what’s at stake are the lives of thousands of unaccompanied youth being sent north in an effort to save them from grisly, violent deaths at the hands of local gangs and drug cartels.
Can you imagine what it must feel like to be a parent in Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador, every day terrified that your child might not come home from school? What would it feel like to never be truly safe, even in you own home? This is the reality for many Central American families. Sending their children north is a last resort, and to just turn your back on their plight is unthinkably calloused.
Demonstrate your humanity by working with area faith-based groups and non-profits to find safe, temporary homes for these young refugees rather than just telling them to stay out of your state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: ZackClark via Wikimedia Commons