BY ISN STAFF | August 10, 2014
The U.S. Jesuit Conference, Jesuit Refugee Service USA and the Ignatian Solidarity Network have released a “Toolkit for Advocating for the Rights of Unaccompanied Children and Families Fleeing Central America.” The document was developed to enable individuals at universities, high schools, parishes and other ministries to engage their faith congregation or campus, government representatives and local community members on the topic of unaccompanied children and families who are fleeing from Central America, from a faith-based perspective grounded in human dignity.
The toolkit is titled “The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Such As These,” in light of a biblical passage cited by former Jesuit Conference president Fr. Thomas Smolich, S.J., in his appeal to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and other Jesuit school alumni serving in Congress, encouraging them to uphold the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life in policy decisions regarding the disposition of children fleeing horrific violence in Central America.
In the letter Fr. Smolich said, “I ask you, as a leader, a parent, and a Catholic, to uphold an American tradition of which we are all proud. We must welcome the refugee, the victim of trafficking, the child who has been abused or abandoned. Let us follow in the footsteps of Jesus when he said “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).”
The toolkit is an extension of the ongoing efforts of all three organizations to educate and advocate, as well as mobilize the Jesuit network to engage on the issue of unaccompanied persons seeking refuge at the U.S. border and broader migration policies.
The toolkit can be downloaded here.