12/30/2015 3:00:00 PM

​            CHICAGO (ELCA) – After a December visit to the Chicago Immigration Court of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), reaffirmed the ELCA’s commitment to work as “church together” to bear witness and respond to the significant number of children and families fleeing Central America and Mexico.

While the number of children and families crossing the U.S. southern border is down from the surge in 2014, the numbers have been rising again and reflect a 106 percent increase from this same period last year.
Eaton attended court to observe the ELCA’s Guardian Angels program, a court-watch program that was started by the ELCA Southwest California Synod and has been replicated and implemented at the ELCA churchwide office in Chicago. As part of the program, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking volunteers attend immigration hearings to document proceedings and to meet with families outside of the courtroom to pray together, answer questions and provide information on legal assistance.

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