Esperanza leads humanitarian delegation to Central America
Philadelphia’s Reverend Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, will lead a delegation of Latino pastors who will travel to Washington D.C., Guatemala and Honduras at the request of the U.S. government.
The delegation will explore how U.S. Latino faith organizations can partner with faith leaders in Guatemala and Honduras and support their ministries during the current child immigration crisis.
For Rev. Cortes the mission will be a continuation of his efforts to support comprehensive immigration reform, a cause he has championed for the past 16 years.
“The crisis involving the children from Central America is an issue that touches all our hearts and should touch our sense of responsibility to care for those who may not be able to care for themselves,” Rev. Cortes said. “Esperanza and our partners here in the U.S. feel the need to reach out and support those on the ground in Central America to see how we can work together to alleviate further difficulty.”
At their first stop in Washington D.C. on Monday, the delegation will be briefed by the White House, State Department, USAID and the National Security Council on the most current information pertaining to the situation.
In Central America, the delegation is scheduled to meet next week with the President of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina, as well as the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández.
The other set of meetings will include key faith leaders from both countries, including Rev. César Vasquez, president of the Alianza Evangelica Latinoamericana (AEL), who will host the delegation in Guatemala, and the executive director of the Confraternidad Evangelica Rev. Jorge Machado, in Honduras.
According to Esperanza, these national ministers represent over 90 percent of the evangelical churches in their countries.
A key factor in the trip will be clarifying the misconception that the U.S. is giving families and children so call traveling permits, documents to permanently reside in the U.S., or that they can’t be deported once they arrive.
“It is our hope to connect Latinos of faith in the United States to some of the relief efforts that address the children’s present and future needs, ” Rev. Cortes said. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to serve and we look forward to returning with a clear understanding of the situation in Guatemala and Honduras.”