By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/16/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
In response to the thousands of unaccompanied South American children flooding the Texas border, Pope Francis has called for "urgent intervention." The pontiff says the U.S. needs to welcome and protect minors who travel on their own to seek a better life in the United States.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The pontiff said that the measures should include an information campaign on the dangers of the journey. Pope Francis also called upon the international community to rise to the challenge and adopt "new forms of legal and safe migration."
Children from South and Central American nations have flooded across the U.S. border, overwhelming the U.S. government's ability to respond.
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Francis issued his message in a letter to a Vatican conference on migration in Mexico. He drew attention to the "tens of thousands of children who are emigrating alone, unaccompanied, to flee poverty and violence."
The U.S. has deported Honduran children as young as 1-1/2 years old this week. It was the first such flight since President Obama pledged to speed up the process of sending back illegal immigrant minors from Central America.
The children flooding the Texas border are fleeing violence and poverty in their homeland. Record numbers of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have crossed into the U.S. over the past year, sparking intense debate about how to solve the problem.
Said flight, from New Mexico to San Pedro Sula, the city with the highest murder rate in the world, saw the return of 17 Honduran women, as well as 12 girls and nine boys, aged between 18 months and 15 years.
The Hondurans were from among a group of immigrants who've been housed at an Artesia, New Mexico emergency detention facility. That facility became active after other centers became completely overwhelmed.
The Artesia Center was opened in barracks of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. It eventually will hold about 700 women and children.
"Our border is not open to illegal immigration," Homeland Security Secretary Jeb Johnson said. These comments were made after he visited the facility in what was intended to show detainees that America is not the welcoming place they may have thought.
"Our message to those who come illegally is we will send you back," Johnson said.
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