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Wanted: Pro-Bono Legal Help for Immigrants

His Noodly Appendage

Agenzia Fides - published on 07/27/14

Bishop of Dallas recruits lawyers ho can help represent young people showing up at southern border.

A campaign to recruit volunteers and lawyers ready to commit to help the children stopped at the border with Mexico has started in North Texas.

The Catholic Church in North Texas, in the person of Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, launched an appeal to address the humanitarian emergency concerning the flow of children and young people who arrive at the border alone and without documents.

"For a community of faith, at the moment" said Bishop Farrell, "the issue is not limited simply on a political debate on immigration, but on the urgent help towards those most in need. "We are the number-one country in the world when it comes to helping people."

The Bishop responded to reporters’ questions about the deployment of National Guard troops at the border announced by Governor Rick Perry. "I am sure that the governor has his own reasons for sending 1,000 troops to the border area," he said. "But this does not solve the problem at the moment. But as a Church, we are now worried about the children … This is a humanitarian crisis that will judge the character and moral level of our nation."

The flow of migrant children, coming mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, is reaching record levels. The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection reported that 57,525 children were arrested between Oct. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. This figure shows an increase of 106 percent compared to last year, when border authorities arrested 27,884 children.

The campaign started two days ago by charity groups (Catholic Charities of Dallas), the association of the Hispanic Bar Association of Dallas and from the same diocese. Its aim is to recruit bilingual volunteer lawyers to assist the children cost-free whose cases are discussed at the immigration courts. About 160 lawyers have already voluntarily joined the initiative.

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