By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/1/2014 (11 months ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The plight of unaccompanied children making their way from Central America into the United States through the Texas border has been in national headlines for several weeks now. The City of Chicago now says that it will gladly take in up to 1,000 children fleeing strife in Honduras.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the request of the Obama administration in which he formerly served, says he's working with local organizations to assist in the plight of immigrant children.
"The influx of unaccompanied child migrants is a growing humanitarian crisis that we can no longer ignore," Mayor Rahm Emanuel says. "While we have our own challenges at home, we cannot turn our backs on children who are fleeing dangerous conditions. We will do our part to ensure that these children are given access to services and treated fairly and humanely."
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The city is also asking Chicago law firms to provide free legal assistance to the foreign children.
Emanuel pointed out that his own grandfather left Eastern Europe at age 13, all alone, to get away from the violence directed at Jews.
"These kids are leaving violence," Emanuel is quoted as saying. "There are 1,000 kids. We are not only a city of big shoulders. We're a city of big hearts, and we welcome them and get 'em on their way. And we will also make sure that the city of Chicago has universal pre-K, universal kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, expanding summer jobs, because the test and measure of this city is how we treat our children."
The Honduran children may be leaving their violent homelands - to escape into more violence. There were 440 homicides in Chicago in 2013, down from the 500 counted by the FBI in 2012. In 2014 so far, 223 people have been killed, including an 11-year-old girl shot by a stray bullet at a sleepover with friends.
Mayor Emmanuelle is also reaching out to organizations and institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, that are willing to offer services to the unaccompanied minors.
"Cardinal George has called on the federal government to allow the Archdiocese of Chicago, including Catholic Charities and Maryville, to assist in this humanitarian crisis," Monsignor Michael Boland, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, says.
"We, along with the Archdiocese and Maryville, are ready to work with the City in providing counseling, food and clothing, case management, legal assistance and housing to these children with the dignity, care and compassion that every person deserves."
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