Campaign Forms to Protect Immigrant Children and Families

September 3, 2014 | Chicago, IL

In the wake of thousands of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico—an unprecedented situation many human rights groups have labeled a humanitarian crisis—Erie House has partnered with other local organizations to form the Illinois Campaign to Protect Our Children & Families (ICPCF).

The campaign hosted a press conference at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Thursday, August 28th, to lay out its vision and mobilize individuals and communities to advocate for and work for justice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable.

Senator Dick Durbin
View more photos from the ICPCF press conference on Facebook.

Among the many nonprofit, religious, business and political leaders present at the event were Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

“At this time of testing, the United States has to prove itself to the world—as we demand of the world—that we do believe in human rights—even for these children,” Sen. Durbin told those gathered at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “We have to be willing to stand up and say, ‘While they are here, they will be treated with dignity, with respect, with care, with medical care, and otherwise.’”

Gov. Quinn echoed Durbin’s remarks. “We must take care of children, no matter where they come from,” he said. “We want to make sure that we take good care of those who seek refuge in our state—refuge from gangs and violence in their homelands…that is our moral compass, our moral responsibility.”

During the conference, campaign members made a collective plea to President Obama to take administrative action to provide relief for children who have fled to the U.S. border and immigration reform that respects the dignity and livelihood of millions of immigrants living in the country without documentation.

Numerous staff from Erie House, including Executive Director Celena Roldán-Moreno, were present at the press conference and took an active role in its planning and execution. Roldán-Moreno, who authored an op-ed about the humanitarian crisis earlier in the month, views this issue as an extension of the mission of Erie Neighborhood House. “It’s important to remember that these are children who are seeking our mercy and compassion in the face of violence in their home countries,” she said. “We can’t—and we won’t—turn our backs on the vulnerable among us. That would simply be inconsistent with our mission as an organization.”

Next steps for ICPCF include continuing to press President Obama and elected officials to take immediate action to protect the children who have fled from Central America and ensure justice for all immigrant children and families living in the U.S. through immigration reform. The campaign is also equipped to provide legal services and other humanitarian aid to children sheltered in the state of Illinois.

For more information about getting involved, please visit a Heartland Alliance microsite launched to mobilize the public to take action.

 

 

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