- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Director of the federal agency responsible for aiding the unaccompanied alien children illegally coming to the United States from Central America told a conference Tuesday that staffers should be reminded of Jesus Christ when working with refugees.

“Jesus was a refugee, and that’s a very good reminder to all of us,” Eskinder Negash, director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), said at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2014 Migration Conference in Washington, CNS News reported.

“I happen to believe in [the] refugee program, not just because Jesus was a refugee — because I was also myself a refugee,” Mr. Negash said, adding that people working with refugees “can only be successful and have a long impact on people when we actually start seeing ourselves [as] the people we want to serve.”

Mr. Negash said that the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program is the largest of ORR’s programs, which takes custody of unaccompanied alien children who are not from a contiguous country and then reunites them with family or places them with a sponsor, CNS reported.

President Obama has asked Congress to appropriate an additional $2 billion to the program, but Mr. Negash argued that people should be less concerned with money and concentrate more on the people he and others serve.

“So I believe it’s very, very important we do that self-examination and do it quickly and see ourselves with the people we want to serve,” he said, CNS reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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