We are deeply saddened by the administration’s failure to uphold our moral and legal obligations to welcome people seeking safety. We weep and mourn the loss of yet another life while in immigration detention. The 16-year-old child, named Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, died in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody on May 20th. This is the fifth child to die in government custody since December 2018. Those deaths include a 2-year-old toddler who tragically died last week while in CBP custody, and the devastating deaths of Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, age 7, and 8-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who also died while in CBP custody in December. Every single child harmed by this administration’s campaign of cruelty and failure to protect families fleeing violence and persecution is an indefensible tragedy.
Today, we demand justice for Jakelin, Felipe, Juan, and for all the others who have been harmed by our leaders’ calloused hearts. As Congress considers federal funding for DHS, right now is a critical time to tell your Members of Congress to cut funding for immigration detention, deportation, and border militarization – and to demand that the United States welcome and process all asylum seekers and others seeking protection in an equitable, timely, and compassionate manner. It is also crucial for Congress to hold the administration accountable – demanding to know why children are dying; seeking justice for their deaths and using every measure possible to protect the children in their care.
Demand Justice: Call 1-866-940-2439*
Call three times to be connected to your 2 Senators and 1 Representative.
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and [as a person of faith] I urge you to cut funding for detention, deportation, and border militarization. As our nation weeps and mourns for the loss of another life in U.S. immigration detention, I don’t want Congress to write a check that harms children or fails to protect families fleeing violence and persecution. I urge you to do everything you can to see detention, deportation, and border militarization funding reduced in fiscal year 2020 – and to hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable for immoral and cruel attacks against asylum seekers, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. The United States should welcome and process all asylum seekers and others seeking protection in an equitable, timely, and compassionate manner – and focusing on implementing meaningful solutions that address the root causes of displacement. My community welcomes and values immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”
Here are 3 more ways to take action:
- Join the Virtual Vigil: Join us in witness to atrocity. We are galvanized to hold our leaders accountable for their wanton disregard for human life. Grief cannot be the only garment we wear as community. We both mourn and seek justice for Jakelin, Felipe, Juan, and for all the others who have been harmed by our leaders’ calloused hearts. Click here to leave your prayers and calls to action on social media to honor, mourn, and pray.
- Amplify Call to Action on Social Media: Share the same message on social media with your Representatives & Senators! Sample posts are below, and check out the #NoDHSDeaths Toolkit for more posts & graphics:
- .[@SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] 5 children have died in U.S. custody since December. Join us in solemn prayer & hold DHS, CBP, ICE accountable #NoDHSDeaths
- .[@SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] Religious text shows sacredness of children & family. Reduce funding for ICE, CBP & hold DHS accountable #NoDHSDeaths
- Attend Washington, DC Vigil: If you are in the DC area, join us on Thursday, May 23rd at 9am for an interfaith vigil mourning children who died at the U.S. border. The vigil will take place at the United Methodist Building, Simpson Memorial Chapel – First Floor (100 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002). Click here to watch the live stream. For the media advisory, click here.