Replay video: Project Lifeline hosted a panel and community discussion and interactive event, "Immigrant Children, Detention Without End?" on Friday, Sept. 28, in the Student Engagement Ballroom at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Each year, as many as 90,000 immigrant children spend time in U.S. detention centers. Those who monitor the conditions say the children often are kept for months at a time in unsanitary conditions without proper medical care and are denied food and clean water. Recent proposals could make their stay in detention indefinite.
The evening began with a panel discussion by faith leaders and world-renowned pediatric and public health physicians with extensive experience working with displaced children in crisis. The conversation focused on the harm to the children and the trauma they suffer, from the dangers they are fleeing to the inhumane conditions they face in detention.
Following the panel discussion, the audience formed small groups to discuss the issues and explore ways to take action. This event is the perfect opportunity to bring your friends and family who may be unaware about the conditions of ongoing detention and the consequences.
Dr. Fernando Stein - Medical Director, Progressive Care Unit, Texas Children's Hospital - Baylor Houston: Dr. Stein is a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a founding member of the Section of Critical Care, the Council of Sections Management Committee and the Committee on Membership of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Stein is a native of Guatemala.
Dr. Paul Wise - Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society, Stanford University: Dr. Wise is a Senior Fellow in the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and the Center for International Security and Cooperation, in the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University. He is also co-Director of the March of Dimes Center for Prematurity Research at Stanford University. Dr. Wise has worked extensively in Guatemala.
Dr. Marsha Griffin - Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Child and Family Health and the Community for Children program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine: Dr. Griffin cares for children at the border. She has spent the last ten years writing and speaking about her concerns for the trauma inflicted on the children living along the border, as well as those children who are forced to pass through this region in search of safe haven.
Dr. Ayesha Khan - Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine: Over the last six years, Dr. Khan’s work has been on the neglected burden of global emergency disease as a public health concern through projects that focus on education and sustainable capacity building.
Sister Norma Pimentel - Director of Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley: Sr. Norma runs the Sacred Heart Respite Center in McAllen, TX. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the Laetare Medal, the highest honor and American Catholic can receive. She was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Award for service at their event at the Kennedy Center. Sr. Norma is also one of the most visible and vocal advocates for these children.
Rev. Dr. Helen Boursier - An interdisciplinary practical theologian whose governing interest is the role of social justice as it relates to the church’s public ministry, Rev. Boursier was a volunteer chaplain at the Karnes City ICE detention center (2015-2016), where she facilitated art as a pastoral care ministry of presence with mothers and children. As a professional photographer, and with their permission, Rev. Dr. Boursier recorded much of the work of the 5,000 mothers and children who participated in her art as a pastoral care program. The images of the works tell the families’ powerful stories in a way that words alone cannot. This stunning collection helps us understand the plight of these Central American families more deeply: the violence they endured at home, the horrors of their passage, and the unrelenting hope which sustains them on their journeys.
Pastor John Garland - Pastor, San Antonio Mennonite Church: Pastor Garland has lived and worked on the Texas/Mexico border as a public school teacher and pastor. He has an active program sheltering refugee families dropped off by ICE and stranded in San Antonio. He is a passionate advocate for social justice.
Rev. Ann Helmke - an ordained Lutheran (ELCA) minister who has been serving in San Antonio community for over 25 years, she is co-founder of the San Antonio peaceCENTER. Rev. Helmke currently serves as the Community Faith Based Liaison for the City of San Antonio
The event features the full exhibit of The Power of Hope-Refugee Art & Reflection - art created by mothers and children in detention at the ICE Karnes City facility.