Helping ease immigrants into US with old-fashioned pen pal program

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services helps send pen pal letters to people in immigration detention
Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 11:48 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Day after day, the videos chronicle the crisis along our southern border. Young children, alone, housed in makeshift US detention centers. That they got that far is only half the story; the road to this place: long and dangerous.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayrokas, has stated publicly that “The border is closed. We are expelling families.”

“We are expelling single adults and we’ve made a decision that we will not expel, young vulnerable children,” he said.

The numbers continue to climb. In fact, the Biden Administration anticipates the number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the US southern border, illegally, will rise substantially for a least the next two months. The government estimates between 18,600 and 22,000 children could cross the border in April.

“We’re not interested in making a political statement. This is a statement of good will,” said president and CEO Of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services Krish O’Mara Vignarajah. Her organization helps send pen pal letters to people in immigration detention centers — a way to show a compassionate presence to those in detention to remind them they are not alone or forgotten.

“It’s just as important to remember these detainees are people just like you or me, and what we’re trying to share is that sense of humanity,” she said.

To learn more about how to become a pen pal and the mission statement of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, click here.

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