Read World Vision’s statement on family separation and the situation at the border here.

Q: What is the current situation at the southern U.S. border?

A: Over a five-week time span, at least 2,300 children migrating from Central America were separated from their parents at the U.S. border after the Administration instituted a “zero tolerance” approach to migration and asylum seekers, triggering criminal processes for adults and separation from their children while their asylum applications are being considered. This migration is driven in part by extreme violence and crime in Central America.

Q: Why are children coming to the U.S. southern border? 

A: There are many drivers of displacement and migration and each case is multi-dimensional. While natural disasters undoubtedly force families from their homes, increasingly families are pushed into situations of displacement due to a broad range of negative political, economic, and social developments. Factors include violent conflict, political conflict, persecution (or the threat of persecution), loss of natural resources and changes in climate, lack of economic opportunity, or oftentimes a combination of these in combination with other factors. For the majority of children and families at the southern border, violence is the primary driver of migration.

Q: Last week the Administration issued an executive order, Affording Congress an Opportunity To Address Family Separation. Will this solve the problem of families being separated?

A: The executive order gives Congress time to figure out a solution for newly arriving children – they will not be separated from families or guardians. Under the 1997 Flores Agreement, decided in Federal court, children cannot be detained more than 20 days. If the Administration continues to detain those seeking asylum in the U.S. and the process to approve or deny their asylum application takes longer than 20 days, there could be renewed risk for separation since the parents would remain in detention and the children would not.

Q: I have seen pictures of detention sites that look safe – the children have beds, and food is provided. Is there really a risk of long-term harm?

A: Both detention — unaccompanied or as a family — and family separation have proven toxic for children’s overall development and long-term well-being. The long-lasting damage to a child’s well-being starts almost immediately and increases with the duration of the separation or detention. This is especially true if the situation has not been explained to the child in an appropriate way, or the child has experienced previous or multiple adversities.

Family separation and shelters expose children to increased risks of neglect, violence, exploitation, and abuse. Children cannot fully develop without strong emotional bonds with their primary caregivers. This applies to all children — from infants to adolescents. Sudden, forced separation of children from their primary caregivers can inflict harm commensurate with the harm children experience during humanitarian crises such as living in conflict zones.

Family detention has a highly detrimental impact on the long-term well-being of children and their families. In addition to direct adverse impacts on their well-being, detention also diminishes caregivers’ capacity to shield children from long-lasting psychological and cognitive harms.

Q: How can the United States protect these vulnerable children from harm?

A: Children will be more protected if U.S. legislation addresses their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. In Congress, many senators and representatives have introduced legislation around the issue of immigration, and continue to do so. World Vision, along with an alliance of other organizations, urges Congress to pass legislation that includes provisions that do the following:

  • Facilitate rapid family reunification;
  • Provide mental health and psychosocial support to children and their families;
  • Ensure that administrative and legal procedures meet their best interests; and
  • Prevent further family separation by ending the use of detention.

Q:  Is there legislation that World Vision is endorsing or a bill that I can ask my Member of Congress to support?

A:  While there have been both comprehensive and narrow bills introduced to address immigration and family separation, no piece of legislation has yet fully addressed the provisions World Vision supports to protect children, in addition to ensuring that existing protections for unaccompanied children that World Vision supports under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act remain intact.  In addition to asking Members of Congress to support the four critical provisions to protect children, you can also ask your Member of Congress to:

  • Cosponsor House Resolution 910, Condemning violence against children globally, and encouraging the development of a strategy for preventing, addressing, and ending violence against children and youth globally. This resolution talks about the need to address the root causes of violence so that children can feel safe and protected in their communities and homes.
  • Call for a hearing on U.S. policies and assistance regarding children on the move. If your Member is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee or Senate Committee on Foreign Relations they are especially influential on this topic; however, all members of Congress can encourage the chairs and ranking members to hold a hearing.
  • Support foreign assistance programs that provide economic opportunities, education, and child protection to Central American countries to help reduce poverty and violence and to help create opportunities for children and their families.
  • Cosponsor the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018 (H.R.5273) – a bill that aims to strengthen the capacity of the United States to address root causes of fragility and violence globally, primary drivers of migration globally.

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.”   –Leviticus 19:33

Update: As of the afternoon of June 27, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill approving $4.6 billion to care for migrant refugees detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill was already passed in the Senate, and President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. World Vision is grateful to advocates who spoke out on this issue.

Read the latest on the situation at the U.S.–Mexico border.

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  • Please follow what the God of our Holy Bible says about how to treat foreigners. Let’s do honorable things for fellow children of God and help them rather than contribute to their destruction.

  • America should not be traumatizing those fleeing for their lives. We should be the Becon on the Hill, not the gulag in the swamp.

    • I think that these illegals are coming here to escape violence in Central America. The drug gangs are vicious and tell people they or their children will be killed unless they get what they want. I don’t think they have jobs on their minds.

  • I agree that we should treat everyone with compassion and respect. This is not limited to governmental policies, but every day actions as these immigrants become our nirghbors, coworkers, etc. I would like to know what the government and organizations like World Vision is doing in these countries so they don’t need to leave their homes and families. America is not the answer to everyone’s problems we have violence, Poverty, natural disasters, illness here too. We should also be helping these countries to date for their own people rather than trying to be the savior of all. That is Jesus responsibility.

    • Hi, we encourage you to contact your members of Congress about House Resolution 910, the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act, and about supporting foreign assistance. All of these things, if implemented, will help to address root causes of migration.

    • I agree w/ Concerned. Nobody is FIXING the cause of all this. This has been going on for years and nobody seems to address the REAL issue and do something about it. It’s only been about the after affect. The best thing this country and all the other countries involved to do is – FIX what is causing these people from having to leave their homes. The United States has always helped refugees and I hope we always will,but, we can’t always be THE go to remedy for something, especially when it doesn’t FIX it.

      • Agree – we can’t be letting thousands upon thousands of people keep pouring into this country every day and not do something about what it is that is making them pour in here. But this country does give out too many freebies – help others, yes, but do not make people dependent. When hard working Americans have to pay thousands of dollars for healthcare, for homes, for food, clothing, and education, while others come here from foreign lands and get it free or for next to nothing, how is that right??? Fix the problems in the countries they’re all coming from!

        • Agree with all these comments and I am an immigrant myself, glad people see it. This sounds all very political to me, as Christians we should come up with the solution more in the likeness of Christ, and Jesus said to respect the law of the land, and with these situations there are many laws that haven’t been respected.

  • What can I as a Canadian do? I feel so helpless to have any sort of impact on this atrocious situation.

  • Children are our future. They are precious in God’s eyes and deserve the right to know and to live in peace. Red, yellow, black, or white…
    Think about if these were your children or your grandchildren. They all matter. Please make a decision to protect the children. Please make a decision to protect ‘family’.
    Thank you, Sherry Frattini

  • These illegal immigrants are not starving and they have shelter. Lets not get pious. This is about politics ( see mainstream media) and the mid-terms and has been an issue for the last 30 years but no politician has courage to address. However, we do have laws in this country that are required for the whole society including 350,000,000 people. I am all for legal and lawful immigration. I am quite certain the Founder Fathers where for legal immigration too. That’s why we have laws. Lets get our checkbooks out and help these people. Also, the Pope needs to visit with the Mexican Gov’t and Catholic Church about helping these folks. Our country provides a lot of aide to Central America and it needs to go the PEOPLE not the govt.

    • Brian, I feel the same. I believe that the parents must be (held) responsible for this sad family separation situation (not the Adminsitration/Trump) for THEY chose to illegaly immigrate, taking their children with them, exposing themselves and their kids to all known risks. I am also for legal and lawful immigration. We, as christians, must not call evil good, as it is said in Isaiah 5.

      • Hi, we encourage you to explore options above and to encourage your members of Congress to support legislation that addresses root causes and drivers of the violence that is causing immigration.

      • Brian:
        Our Founding Fathers were immigrants! Unless your ancestors were Native American, they emigrated to America as well. Two things people need to understand: Some of these families were fleeing for their lives and those of their children. Their daughters are at risk to sex traffickers. When your child is in danger, you RUN. Some of these families were told by ICE how they could enter the US border legally, only to be arrested and their children taken the minute their feet hit US ground. Our president and most of Congress won’t be around to see the damage done to these children and babies. Yes, I do believe it is time for the Pope to pay a visit to Mexico. I hope he will visit Puerto Rico as well.

      • Many of these parents/adults are fleeing violence and persecution, and the U.S. has a long and honorable (and Biblical) tradition of offering asylum to these individuals, parents and children alike. It is wrong to assume that everyone seeking entry into the United States is “illegal” or is violating the law. U.S. law recognizes the rights of asylum seekers and they must be given due process under our laws. No prior administration (Republican or Democrat) has treated migrant families in this way, and the current administration does bear responsibility for its actions.

        • Yes….prior administrations have! Many of the pictures circulating In the media of kids being temporarily detained separately are actually from 2014.

  • All of God’s children are precious in His sight. Please help in bringing in the Kingdom of God by caring about all children everywhere!

  • Kids should never be separated from their families. They will have to suffer from what comes about that after that has happened to them for the rest of their lives.

  • Consider the plight of Mother Mary during the holy night and then make your decision as a true Christian.

    • So true. I once heard a speaker ask if Jesus were born in present times to an unwed mother on “the wrong side” of town, would we as today’s Christians recognize him or would we be like those in Bethlehem? That really shook me because to be honest at that point in my life I don’t think I would have. We have seriously Americanized Christianity and will some day have to answer for this sad fact.

  • Please don’t force more trauma on these children than they’ve already had to endure. Be a guiding light for those seeking refuge!

    • I agree. Many children in this country are going to bed hungry. And this is the richest country in the world. And many get sick and their parents cannot afford to see a doctor. But does that mean the children of poor illegals should be harmed by our cruel policies? No. Separating a child from its mother even for short periods of time can result in permanent psychological damage. There is no excuse for this.

    • Many children in the US are hungry. In the world’s richest country, we still have hungry kids. But they are physically safe. These kids coming from Central America came here because they are NOT safe. They are in danger from murderous drug gangs who will kill at the drop of a hat. Any normal parent would take

      • Marge:
        You are right on and keep spreading your love for all humanity not just those within our borders.
        We can do better than this !


  • The people trying to sneak in to the United States illegally should be held at the boarder and their children nee to stay with the parents. The reason they are coming illegally, is to get from the U.S. is free money every month and free food, free housing and a free brand new car and take jobs from us here. And not to have to work for it.

    • Please tell me where I can sign up for the free brand new car. I have thus far missed out on this benefit of American living.

    • This is so wrong. I think you are a what they call a “troll.” These people are coming to the US to get away from the criminal drug gangs. Back in the old days, they were called “refugees.” We took them in and helped them. It looks like those days are over, sadly.

  • Thank you for helping to give language that helps us to drive Kingdom values with our members of congress.

  • I think we are forgetting about the meaning of the word illegal. We have legal ways for anyone who wants to come to this country to be able to do so. But it requires waiting in line like the people who came before them. That’s all that is required.

  • My ancestors came to this country with the Pilgrams. They worked hard and fought hard. My ancestors served in every war our country has fought, right or wrong. But I guess if you think about it they were illegals. No one asked them to come here. I suppose the ship they got off of the Mayflower would have been turned back. My ancestors were John Alden and Miles Standish.

  • Why doesn’t Mexico help these people. It makes more sense for them to stay in Mexico. Can anyone on this forum help me to understand this better?

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