Target: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
Goal: Applaud state’s open arms in response to massive influx of refugee children
In response to the recent mass influx of underage and unaccompanied refugees through U.S. borders, and a dire need for national immigration reform, one governor stepped up to offer open arms to these children in crisis. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has announced that his state will house immigrant children awaiting congressional immigration policy reform.
Since October, 2013, roughly 57,000 minors have crossed U.S. borders . Most of them arrived from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, fleeing corruption and violence. Over 30,000 of these unaccompanied refugee children have been released into foster care under sponsorship from groups like Portland-based nonprofit Morrison Child and Family Services.
“These children are fleeing their homelands because of overwhelming violence and economic hardship, and they do not deserve to become political fodder,” Governor Kitzhaber said. Oregon has been a welcoming home to unaccompanied minors and refugee children, and will continue to be so while we wait on Congress to adopt more responsible immigration policies.”
Oregon has found sponsorship for 50 immigrant children between January 1 and July 7 of 2014, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services, and a $3.7 million grant from the federal government in 2014 will allow the housing and sponsorship of countless more.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and it requires a humanitarian response,” as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski said. Applaud Governor Kitzhaber for his appropriately humanitarian response.
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
Roughly 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed U.S. borders fleeing deplorable circumstances since October, 2013, and that number is expected to double in 2015. It is clear that comprehensive immigration reform is critical, but while waiting for the end of political stalling, the issue of housing and protecting these refugee children is critical.
Between January 1 and July 7 of 2014, Oregon has released 50 children to sponsors, foster parents, family friends and relatives.
Though undocumented, these refugees are not criminals, but children facing serious danger to find a better life, leaving violence, corruption and poverty in places like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, through drug war torn Mexico to find cold shoulders in the land of opportunity.
I commend your commitment to treating these undocumented immigrants as what they are: unaccompanied children in a strange land fleeing horrific circumstances.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Makaristos via Wikimedia Commons