June 28, 2019
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until we secure it for all of us.” – Jane Addams, humanitarian and contributing founder of Heartland Alliance
With recent media coverage about the appalling conditions in which children are being held at Border Patrol detention centers, we know that some of you are concerned about possible comparisons to Heartland Human Care Services’ shelters for unaccompanied minors.
Let me be clear – there is no comparison. I encourage you to take a look here.
Heartland Alliance is a 130-year-old human rights organization that stands with individuals who are most marginalized and vulnerable. For the last 23 years, as part of its global humanitarian efforts, our affiliate Heartland Human Care Services has been providing shelter to unaccompanied minors seeking safety and refuge in the United States.
We are acutely aware that the federal administration continues to dismantle the protections and services put in place for those seeking refuge. Threatening mass immigration arrests; removing funding for legal, education, and recreational activities for unaccompanied children; causing irrevocable traumas through forced family separation; reducing access to critical mental health services; and threatening to eliminate housing for undocumented immigrants are just a few of the horrors and barriers the administration is putting into place to work against individuals seeking safety and hope. This makes Heartland Alliance’s work to respond to the needs of marginalized populations more challenging and more important than ever.
The conditions in border patrol facilities are deplorable. Detention of this kind was outlawed by the Flores Settlement Agreement in 1997, which prohibited unaccompanied minors from being held in U.S. custody in detention facilities managed by law enforcement. It also mandated the humanitarian model of shelters that Heartland Human Care Services operates today.
We vehemently oppose the criminalization of children and families as a result of government immigration policies. We will always fight for the fair treatment of and opportunities for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. Our country is safer and stronger when we live up to these ideals.
And remember, you can always access tools for your family, friends, and neighbors and learn about our positions and actions by following us on social media (Facebook and Twitter) or online (National Immigrant Justice Center.)
Thank you for your commitment to our work on behalf of immigrant and refugee families during this extremely difficult time.