On this week’s State of Belief, special guest host Bishop Gene Robinson will step in for Welton Gaddy, who continues to take some time off. This week, the host and all four guests bring their perspectives to discuss the ongoing problem concerning the increased waves of Central American refugees at the U.S./Mexico border. Tune in and you’re sure to come away with a more nuanced view of this serious humanitarian crisis than that parroted by the talking heads on cable news. Download Icon

The Violence of Daily Life in El Salvador and the Refugee Crisis on the Border
Bishop Gene recently returned from a 10-day trip to El Salvador, one of the countries that thousands of refugees – many of them children – have fled for the United States. As we hear our politicians clinically and coldly debate the “immigration problem” on the U.S./Mexico border, they seem to forget that these children are refugees escaping unimaginable violence. This week, Richard Weinberg, Associate Director of Programs at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and another member of the group that travelled to El Salvador, talks about what life is really like for the everyday Salvadorian, and the desperation that forces a parent to make the heartbreaking decision to send their child north in hopes of a better life.

A Look Inside New Mexico’s Artesia Detention Center
For a look at the other end of that pipeline, Bishop Gene speaks with Sharita Gruberg, Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress, who has just returned from a trip to the Artesia Detention Center in New Mexico. Sharita will share what and whom she saw at the Artesia detention center. She has detailed descriptions on the detainees’ living conditions and the reception they got on their entry to the United States. She also observed the resources available to the children trying to navigate the difficult process of asking for refugee status and asylum. Finally, she’ll delve into how America can respond with compassion to these children, and what she would say to the members of Congress who argue that we should just “send ‘em back.”

Why Are We Not Surprised: Congress Tries to Gut Law Working to Stop Sex Trafficking
The Obama Administration asked Congress for 3.7 billion dollars to help deal with the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing our border. True to form, the conservative response was to cut that to just a fraction, and to gut the all-important Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Malika Saada Saar, the Executive Director of Rights4Girls – a project focused on the human rights of young women and girls in the United States – explains what the TVPRA is, and why it is so critical in preventing sex trafficking on our borders.

The Numbers Behind the Rhetoric: Americans’ Opinions on the Immigration Crisis
As our nation continues to manage the humanitarian crisis on our border, we constantly hear from leaders who all too often view the situation through a political lens. What about the American public? A new Public Religion Research Institute survey asked Americans about this urgent situation. PRRI’s Founding CEO, Dr. Robert P. Jones, joins State of Belief to share some of his key takeaways from the report. Perhaps most importantly, Robby underscores that Americans are able to see unaccompanied minors as the refugees that they are, despite the often-inflammatory rhetoric coming from the far right. He also discusses what a majority of Americans want to see done to address this humanitarian crisis, and how this compares to what Congress is actually doing to “fix” the problem.

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