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Bishops Explain Border Crisis

United Methodist churches across the United States are focused on the thousands of unaccompanied children seeking safety at the U.S. border. James Kang, Director of Communications for the California-Pacific Conference, spoke with Bishops Carcaño and Galvan at the 2014 MARCHA (Metodistas Associados Representando la Causa Hispano Americana) meeting in Los Angeles. The Bishops offered suggestions on ways that individuals and churches can advocate for the children.

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Bishop Minerva Carcaño: “Children from Central America, especially Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are coming out of despair. They’re facing great poverty.”

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano shares reflections about children crossing U.S. borders.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño: “Poverty can be violence upon a human life, a human spirit, and they face that kind of violence because of the extreme poverty in their countries. They’re also presently facing the violence of gangs. And not just gangs but drug cartels, as well. Their lives and societies have been totally undermined and they fear for their lives. We hear story after story of young girls who have been told, not even asked, but told that they will be part of gangs. (camera gets bumped) That they will be the girlfriend of the gang leader. It’s not a life that one chooses for one’s child. I met a grandmother recently who has three little grandchildren that she’s taking care of. She was told that she needed to come up with $21,000 for those children or she would lose them. That gang would take them from her. What would a good grandmother do but get up and pack a few things and leave as quickly as possible. People are in desperate, desperate need to save their children. And they are sending them to the United States in the hope that we will be compassionate and humanitarian towards them.”

United Methodist Bishop Elias Galvan asks congregations to pray and advocate.

Bishop Elias Galvan:“I think the congregations need to pray for the children. It’s very important that they pray for the children. Second, it is important that they open their facilities if the children show up at their places for whatever reason. But they also need to advocate for the welfare of in front of congress, elected officials, the president. Because it is congress and the president who have power to create the situation where they are welcomed and received and protected and given a place of safety.”

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.”

Bishop Minerva Carcaño: “We must remember that these are children. They’re small children, some teenagers but some toddlers and little elementary age school children. They are boys and girls. I have gone to see some of these young people. I have learned that they are also children of faith, children who come with a prayer upon their heart. And that prayer is that God would save them, save them from danger and even from death. These are children. We know that Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Do not impede them. Let them come to me for to them belongs the kingdom of God.’ As people of Christian faith, we need to remember our faith and what our Savior has said to us about the children.”

Learn more about the Church and Immigration at www.umc.org/immigration