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World Relief: President’s Executive Order Does Not Solve Nation’s Family Separation Crisis

June 21, 2018

Lauren Carl

World Relief: President’s Executive Order Does Not Solve Nation’s Family Separation Crisis

El Paso, TX — Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order stating that immigrant families apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border will be detained together, a reversal from a previous approach that separated children from their parents. World Relief has urged the President and Congress to take action to end the separation of families for several weeks, and we are grateful that the president has heard these concerns. However, we remained concerned that this executive order proposes to place families in detention for an indefinite amount of time.

World Relief calls upon the administration to quickly outline and enact a policy to reunite all children who currently remain separated from their parents and restrict the amount of time children are held, with or without their parents.

“Since 1997, it has been the United States’ policy that children would not be detained for more than 20 days,” said Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief. “In fact, this executive order is not just an incomplete solution; it has created additional questions. While being detained together is marginally better than being detained separately, we fundamentally believe that children do not belong in jail-like detention facilities at all. It is now up to Congress to act quickly to restore dignity and transparency to a broken system.”

Matthew Soerens, World Relief’s U.S. Director of Church Mobilization, who has been along the border in recent days with several other World Relief staff, commented, “Yesterday’s executive order makes no provisions for reuniting thousands of children who have been forcibly separated from their parents and remain in detention. The citizens, communities and churches of the U.S. must continue contacting elected officials, urging them to reunite families now and to reverse the underlying ‘zero tolerance’ policy that precipitated this crisis. As an organization, World Relief simply will not rest until we know that these children are once again with their families.”

For those who want to learn more or find out how to help, World Relief has provided the digital means for individuals to raise funds to go to legal aid for the families seeking asylum at the border.

Download the PDF version of this press release.


World Relief is a global humanitarian relief and development organization that stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. With over 70 years of experience, World Relief works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding and has offices in the United States that specialize in refugee and immigration services.

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