Welcoming Young Migrants

On Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress for about $4 billion to deal with the worsening immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico Border. The requested funds will help build new detention facilities, implement more surveillance, and hire more Border Patrol agents and immigration judges. These efforts specifically target the recent jump in child immigrants — numbering some 52,000 minors this year. Reactions to the recent influx of young migrants range from outrage at undocumented immigrants to sympathy and compassion for children fleeing an environment of danger and violence for the chance at a better life.

Some have taken to calling these young migrants refugees. After the president’s plea for more funding, Catholic leaders made statements at the 2014 National Migration Conference that supported treating refugees with kindness and mercy. Some spoke of the horrors of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, like human trafficking and abuse. Others mentioned the gang rule in some Central American countries that force children into a “fight or flight” mentality. The consensus was that parents, who would risk the lives of their children for their secure futures, are desperate for their children to live better.

Share this article with young adults, which includes observations from Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, and discuss the implications for people of faith called to care for the marginalized and welcome the stranger into our midst.

  • The topic of immigration is a hot-button issue. What questions do you have about immigration and the national debate? Where might you find the answers?
  • What do you think of the article’s arguments for refugee status for the young migrants who have crossed the border into the United States?
  • What migration stories do you recall from the Bible? Who are the migrants in these stories and why and to where are they fleeing?
  • What might we learn from these stories in the context of today’s immigration crisis?
  • In the article, Cardinal Wuerl says, “Clearly we belong to our own natural families, but we also belong to God’s family, with an obligation to care for one another. We need to look at one another precisely as brothers and sisters, children of a loving God who invites us to a new relationship to one another.” How might his statements change the way you look at your “brothers and sisters, children of a living God” this week?