Lawyers and National Faith Leaders Pray for President to Protect Immigrant Children and Families

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday morning, over 50 immigration lawyers and faith and community leaders gathered to pray outside the White House to call on President Obama to stop delaying action on immigration and fully protect unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America. “As people of faith and a nation with a rich history of immigrants, we call upon President Obama to fix our broken immigration system, who not only has the legal executive authority, but has the moral obligation to do so immediately,” said Rev. Denise Honeycutt, Deputy General Secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director of Justice for Our Neighbors, said, “The continued inaction by the President and recent immoral votes in the House of Representatives are of grave concern to people of faith. We have come to Washington to raise our voices and ensure our leaders know the cost of their decisions for immigrant families.” JFON is a United Methodist immigration legal services network.

Julie Flanders, a lawyer with JFON in Austin, TX, shared, “We call upon Congress and the President to remember why, in 2008, it enacted special legal protections for immigrant minors through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  The reasons were twofold: to uphold the international law which forbids returning a victim into the hands of its persecutor, and in recognition that children are the most vulnerable to trafficking, abuse, and persecution.”

Rev. Dean Reed of JFON in Dallas, TX, stated, “The administration’s delay on executive action has a daily human cost that violates the core American value of family unity. With each day that passes, another 1,100 people are deported, unjustifiably and unnecessarily tearing families apart. By the time Obama finally takes action, 70,000 families will have endured the catastrophic consequences of political expediency. Administrative relief must be clear and bold and protect all undocumented immigrants who are proving to be faithful, productive neighbors in every community of this great nation.” The vigil is sponsored by National Justice for Our Neighbors, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and Church World Service.

Handout photos for press usage: http://tiny.cc/JFONVigil