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URM Advocacy

Contact Congress

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA) works with Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) who are identified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services. While these individuals are referred to organizations such as LSS/NCA for case management and foster care services, there are many more children and youth who enter the United States without legal protection or appropriate support services. 

As the number of children crossing the U.S. border increase, major challenges remain.  Reports find the U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed. Its facilities are not appropriate for children, and it is urgent that the federal government finds more suitable shelters and accommodations. Here are some actions that the government could take:

  • Ensure that children are released into safe environments – preferably to a family member.
  • Provide children with access to legal counsel as they move through the immigration system. There is no guaranteed right to counsel in immigration law, even for children.
  • Pass immigration reform legislation addressing the backlog of people waiting for visas and allowing parents in the United States to sponsor their children to migrate legally.
  • Crackdown on smugglers and traffickers by using immigrant enforcement resources to identify and apprehend those who are accompanying minors.
  • Support efforts in the sending countries to reintegrate those children who return to their home countries and to mitigate the dangers that are forcing children to flee.

(Source: “5 Things You Need to Know About Unaccompanied Children,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC).

Call Your Elected Official

Tell Congress to welcome and support Unaccompanied Refugee Minors: Call 1-866-961-4293*

*Please call three times to be connected to your Representative and both of your Senators. 

Sample Script: “Specifically, I urge you to contact the White House and Department of Health and Human Services and ask that the following actions be taken:

  • Ensure that children are released into safe environments – preferably to a family member.
  • Provide children with access to legal counsel as they move through the immigration system. There is no guaranteed right to counsel in immigration law, even for children.
  • Pass immigration reform legislation addressing the backlog of people waiting for visas and allowing parents in the United States to sponsor their children to migrate legally.
  • Crackdown on smugglers and traffickers by using immigrant enforcement resources to identify and apprehend those who are accompanying minors.
  • Support efforts in the sending countries to reintegrate those children who return to their home countries and to mitigate the dangers that are forcing children to flee.

Feel free to also share a personal story about the importance of properly handling unaccompanied refugee minors to you, your faith, your community, your business.

Tell Congress to welcome and support Unaccompanied Refugee Minors: Call 1-866-961-4293*                                                                                                             Please call three times

Write to Your Elected Official

[Date]

The Honorable [Senator/Representative] (find this information at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov)

[Room number] [name of congressional office building]

Washington, DC[20510/20515]

Dear Senator/Representative][last name]

As you constituent from [city, state), I urge you to welcome unaccompanied refugee minors and support the U.S. refugee resettlement program.  Resettlement is a strong American legacy that extends hospitality and offers a chance for unaccompanied refugee minors to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.  Every day, more community members than ever before are volunteering with resettlement offices around the country to help unaccompanied refugee minors integrate and thrive.

Specifically, I urge you to contact the White House and Department of Health and Human Services and ask that the following actions be taken:

  • Ensure that children are released into safe environments – preferably to a family member.
  • Provide children with access to legal counsel as they move through the immigration system. There is no guaranteed right to counsel in immigration law, even for children.
  • Pass immigration reform legislation addressing the backlog of people waiting for visas and allowing parents in the United States to sponsor their children to migrate legally.
  • Crackdown on smugglers and traffickers by using immigrant enforcement resources to identify and apprehend those who are accompanying minors.
  • Support efforts in the sending countries to reintegrate those children who return to their home countries and to mitigate the dangers that are forcing children to flee.

Feel free to also share a personal story about the importance of properly handling unaccompanied refugee minors to you, your faith, your community, your business.

With appreciation,

[your signature and contact information].

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