Samaritas' Statement on
U.S. Zero Tolerance Deterrent Policy

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Today, more than 19 million refugees around the world are fleeing war, terrorism, religious persecution and other forms of danger. These are people of all ages being forced to flee from their own countries by war or political unrest. Many are families with young children who have spent years in refugee camps before they are granted permission to enter the United States. They arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs.

As the largest refugee resettlement agency in the state and fourth largest in the nation, Samaritas has resettled thousands of people from dozens of countries. Our Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program serves youth who flee from war, violence or persecution in dozens of countries. By the time they get to the United States, they’ve been separated from and often lost contact with parents and other family members who can care for them and have often suffered great traumas – and they’re not even 18 years old.

ursula detention center 2

ursula detention center


We at Samaritas currently care for 123 unaccompanied minors in foster care or in group homes who emigrated to this country without an adult to guide them. They are part of our Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program, which has cared for youth from foreign lands in America without adult relatives for decades.boy crying More than half of the youth are Refugee Minors; those who were given permission prior to entering America prior to arrival, and the other minors arrived here and then were given permission to remain.

In light of recent events at the United States southern border, we are waiting for federal approval to reinstate our Transitional Foster Care program. If approved, we will care for as many as 60 more children waiting at our southern border who have been separated from their parents. Transitional foster care is designed to provide temporary care while family members within the USA are identified, assessed, and approved to provide the care for these children. The children will then be reunified with those family members.

As one of Michigan’s largest child welfare organizations, we strive to first prevent the trauma of removal, but if necessary, help children heal from trauma if separated from their families. Our commitment to this is evidenced in our domestic foster care program where we have dramatically reduced the number of children separated from parents by developing prevention programs in partnership with government partners. Like the domestic programs, the transitional foster care programs have been put in place at the urging of our federal government.


How Can YOU Help

Our Unaccompanied Refugee Minor program provides a variety of different services for youth. Most youth are placed in foster homes to provide the family environment that is ideal for young people. Some youth need more assistance to recover from past traumas and are placed in our therapeutic foster care program. As youth mature and gain independence, they often graduate to a host home, providing less supervision and more general guidance about how live on their own.

You can help Samaritas today by offering one or more of these services:

 Become a Refugee Foster Parent
 Offer Therapeutic Foster Care
 Become a Host Home
 Become a Mentor
 Offer Tutoring
 Be an Interpreter

 Giving Donations

We’re more than safe harbor in crisis, we come through, when others don’t, with a path home. We connect all people based on their individual circumstances with the families and communities that will empower them to live their fullest life possible. Please for the sake of these children - Help us make those connections today and together we can meet our mission of Serving people as an expression of the love of Christ.

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