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Coalition Ltr to House: Support the Child Citizen Protection Act
6/10/2008

Dear Members of the House of Representatives,

 

We, the undersigned faith-based leaders and organizations, express our firm support of the Child Citizen Protection Act, H.R. 1176, sponsored by Representative Serrano (NY-16). As members of a variety of faith traditions, we call on Congress to enact this important piece of legislation that could keep families together and strengthen U.S. communities.

 

In 1996, mandatory deportation for many non-citizens – lawful permanent residents included – became a part of U.S. immigration law and judges were stripped of any and all discretion to rule in the best interest of a child whose family is involved in immigration proceedings. This policy has denied families the opportunity to plead their cases and has proven detrimental to the well-being of thousands of children, including children who are U.S. citizens. Since 1996, 1.6 million spouses and children have been left behind to cope after a family member has been forcibly deported.

 

The Child Citizen Protection Act seeks to return judicial discretion to immigration judges so they can take into account the well-being of a U.S. citizen child when determining if their non-citizen parent should be forcibly deported. If enacted, this legislation could have a significant impact on families comprised of both citizens and non-citizens, as judges could decide to let undocumented parents remain in the United States with their children.

 

Fifteen percent of all families in the United States include at least one non-citizen parent and a U.S. citizen child. We recognize that parental involvement is critical to the development of children, as a close parent-child relationship increases the likelihood of a child’s academic success, physical health, and emotional well-being. The Child Citizen Protection Act would have the potential to keep families together and allow children to grow and develop into thoughtful and contributing adult citizens.

 

This legislation would also positively impact U.S. communities overall. By restoring judicial discretion, The Child Citizen Protection Act would protect the economic contributions of non-citizens, as well as the future contributions of their children, as they are able to be nurtured by their parents in a stable and unified family environment.  

 

As faith communities, we value family unity and believe that the well-being of children should be taken into account during immigration and deportation proceedings.  We urge all members of Congress to cosponsor and support The Child Citizen Protection Act to restore judicial discretion to protect family unity and the well-being of the nation’s children.

 

Respectfully,

 

American Baptist Churches USA

American Jewish Committee

Casa de Esperanza

Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

Hindu American Foundation

Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Irish Apostolate USA

Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA

NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Standing For Truth Foundation

The Episcopal Church

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Methodist Church

Union for Reform Judaism



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