A Visit with Children at the Border

The issue of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. borders has raised a firestorm in recent weeks. Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, visited with some of these children and posted his observations on his blog. It is presented from both a humanitarian and theological perspective, and worth the read. So I repost here for the benefit of those who follow my blog and with thanks to God for Bishop Rinehart’s thoughtful reflection and call to action.
Pastor Abraham Allende

Bishop Michael Rinehart

“It was either this or be murdered.” Javier was one of nearly 100 kids in the cafeteria of the transitional facility I visited this week. I moved from table to table asking questions. What’s your name? How old are you? Where are you from? What brought you here? How have you been treated? Where are your parents?


The misinformation about unaccompanied minors is staggering. News of the surge of 60,000 unaccompanied minors since last fall makes people think that border crossings are up. In fact border crossings are down, way down. Border crossings in the 80s and 90s were over 1.5 million.

US border apprehensions:
2000: 1,675,438
2008: 723,825
2009: 556,041
2013: 420,789

So what’s going on with this surge in unaccompanied minors? Our group convened on the border to learn. We met with border patrol, an attorney, the children themselves, staff, social workers, pastors and others to understand the…

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Published by pastorallende

Retired Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Social justice and immigration reform advocate. Micah 6:8. Fluent in English and Spanish. I enjoy music and sports.

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