General Principles:

  • As Evangelicals we cannot abandon our responsibility and Christian leadership in protecting the most vulnerable by denying trafficked and migrating children meaningful access to ministry by those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Our commitment to the most vulnerable, particularly children, is based on a whole host of Scriptures (Matthew 25, Hebrews 13:1-3), transcends politics, and is rooted in Scripture.
  • The number of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. cannot be the primary determine of the level of our commitment, Scripture is.
  • The Evangelical church must avoid using vulnerable children as pawns in any political or partisan battles. Our commitment is to following our call to serve the least of these while addressing the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.
  • If the Evangelical community in the United States—one of the largest faith communities in the world committed to an ethic of life —does not provide compassionate ministry to these children fleeing dangerous conditions, what moral authority can we exercise in refugee situations around the world, where communities with fewer economic resources are accepting refugees in the hundreds of thousands and even millions?
  • These Central American children deserve nothing less from the Church than a compassionate, regional response to what has become a humanitarian situation affecting the entire hemisphere. This will require coordinated efforts from Churches not just in the United States but also Central America. Efforts must address systemic issues of security, poverty, and education among others.
  • If Christians relent in their commitment to provide compassionate service and ministry to these children. It will significantly weaken their ability to access protection, and fully flourish as children made in the image of God. We cannot contribute to putting children’s lives at risk.

Who are these children and families?

  • The unaccompanied minors (approximately 52,000 and growing) are fleeing violence and the Church has a moral imperative to respond wisely and compassionately.
  • The United Nations Refugee Agency and many other organizations with expertise in unaccompanied refugee children have reported that the majority of these children are fleeing increasing violence from organized criminal cartels of which children are direct targets. The countries underlined in that report where Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In recent weeks, there has also been an increase in children from Nicaragua.
  • As we know from experience in refugee crises, when people are desperate, they will find a way to flee situations in which their or their family’s life is in danger. Desperate parents who believe their children will die unless they escape their home country will still do all they can to give their children a chance at safety. As one parent has said, I’d rather see my child die while trying to reach safety than have her die on my doorstep.
  • The families coming are mostly women with very young children. These families are also fleeing the same violence as the unaccompanied children.