Sarah Einselen 5-18-2022

Asylum-seeking migrants are detained by a U.S. Border Patrol agent after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 30, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The Biden administration is fighting a legal battle to end the use of Title 42, a policy that has effectively closed the U.S. Southern Border to asylum-seekers for more than two years. Numerous faith-based organizations that work with immigrants have called on the administration to return to pre-pandemic asylum processing.

Sarah Einselen 3-04-2022

Photo Courtesy FRACEEV.

One measure, an executive order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, jeopardizes foster care licenses for anyone who takes in unaccompanied immigrant children who arrive in the country without authorization. The other, a bill being fast-tracked through the state legislature, would bar state and local governments from contracting with businesses that knowingly transport undocumented immigrants, including bus companies or airlines.

Crowds gather for a “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration in front of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022

Crowds gather for a “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration in front of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022. Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

While white evangelical support has decreased, Black Protestant support for a pathway to citizenship increased from 70 percent in 2013 to 75 percent in 2021. Advocates are still working to pass a pathway to citizenship this spring. Immigration justice work is now widely recognized as anti-racism work — work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that oppress us all. Our theology of the imago dei, of the image of God in every person, fuels both our voter protection advocacy and our work to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrant people. We are working to honor the God-given dignity and full personhood of every person by securing the legal right to vote and a legal status for undocumented immigrant people.

Ali McCadden 10-22-2021

Afghan refugees watch a soccer match near the U.S. Army base where they are staying in Fort McCoy, Wisc., on Sept. 30. Barbara Davidson/Pool via REUTERS

In a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, leaders from humanitarian nonprofits and resettlement agencies asked the House Homeland Security Committee to pressure the Biden administration to do more to help resettle evacuated Afghans into U.S. communities.

Their demands come as thousands of Afghans who had initially been housed at U.S. military bases in Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Indiana are moving into communities in the United States. At least an additional 55,000 Afghans remain at the military bases.

Mitchell Atencio 9-21-2021

Immigrants and allies marched to the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21 to urge lawmakers to ensure a pathway for citizenship. Photo: Sandy Ovalle / Sojourners.

Democrats had hoped to include a provision in President Joe Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion budget that would have given citizenship to millions, including Dreamer immigrants, brought to the United States as children, who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But on Sept. 19, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough — a nonpartisan, unelected staff member who advises lawmakers about what is acceptable under the chamber's rules and precedents — advised against adding a provision for citizenship in the budget reconciliation process.

Religion can be a source of resilience and strength for individual refugees as well as the refugee community as a whole. Mosques, temples, and other sites of worship and ritual practice foster rich social networks, generous mutual aid, and meaningful forms of spiritual and cultural connection. Religious institutions, long recognized as pillars of ethnic community life, are especially vital for refugees who have experienced the traumas of war, forced migration, and resettlement.

Gina Ciliberto 5-03-2021

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks speaks during a brief appearance at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden said he would restore America’s role as a “leader” in refugee resettlement. And despite a discouraging start on fulfilling that promise, faith leaders and other advocates for refugees are determined to hold him to his commitment.

Asylum seeking migrants from Central America await transport on March 12, 2021 after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

This March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border — a record high. To many, this number was shocking; media outlets used militaristic language to describe the arriving minors as a “surge.” However, this influx is not surprising given seasonal migration patterns and the horrific immigration policies instated by the Trump administration — policies the Biden administration has not yet repealed. The current administration must address the immediate needs of people seeking refuge at the southern border while also tackling the root causes of forced displacement and migration: U.S. imperialism.

Gina Ciliberto 4-01-2021

A child looks at a photograph of César Chávez. Photo: lunita lu / CC BY-NC 2.0

In a White House proclamation, President Joe Biden declared March 31, 2021 as César Chávez Day. Biden called upon “all Americans to observe this day as a day of service and learning, with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor César Chávez’s enduring legacy.”

Demonstrators at the White House protest President Donald Trump's decision to phase out DACA, Sept. 9, 2017. Photo by bakdc / Shutterstock

This year is the best chance we have had in nearly a decade to change our broken immigration system.

The cover of "Decolonizing Christianity"

EUROCENTRIC CHRISTIANITY, since the days of Constantine, has predominately served as an apologist for authoritarian regimes, be they emperors, kings, crusading popes, or military dictators. In the last century alone, Eurocentric Christian jargon sustained and supported brutal regimes guilty of unimaginable human rights violations. Think of how the Catholic Church, fearing the loss of power during Spain’s Second Republic, threw its support behind the right-wing politics of the usurper Francisco Franco, who cloaked himself as a defender of religious liberties. The church stood by him as he ignited a civil war against the seculariziation of society, turning a blind eye to the Spanish killing fields. ...

Sabina Wong 10-19-2020

The author's grandparents, mother, and uncle in August 1959. Photo courtesy of the author.

My kids are the great-granddaughters of Chinese immigrants, but until recently, I hadn’t shared much about our immigration story or been a vocal advocate for immigrant rights. Instead, like many evangelicals, I had absorbed hardline views on the subject.

Voters on presidential election day in 2016 in Arlington, Va. Photo by Rob Crandal / Shutterstock.com.

Immigration is never out of sight for those whose lives depend on it, even while it may have not been a topic of choice for presidential and vice-presidential debates this year. Candidates and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have used the stories and experiences of immigrant people for political gain. But for many immigrant people, engaging in the larger immigration discourse and advocacy work is primarily about our families and our communities: their present reality and their future opportunities. It is not about touting a “welcoming” nature or defending a seemingly attacked territory or national identity as politicians and others have often approached it.

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

IN JUNE, NEARLY 700,000 DACA recipients could breathe a sigh of relief when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The court determined that the basis for President Trump’s action was “arbitrary and capricious.” The grounds presented for termination failed to consider the impact of the program’s rescission, wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

The grounds of the ruling are important because the court did not address whether DACA was legal. For now, DACA remains fragile. People who have benefited from the program, put in place by executive action under President Barack Obama in 2012, can continue to obtain valid work permits and are protected from deportation.  An estimated 130,000 people would have been eligible to submit new applications for the program, except that the Trump administration released a memo on July 28 saying it would “reject all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents.”

This momentary reprieve and upsurge of hope resulted from decades of fierce social, political, and legal organizing by undocumented youth and their supporters, often at great personal risk. The Trump administration may decide to attack DACA again. It would likely be a costly undertaking since a substantial bipartisan majority of Americans support DACA.

While DACA prevents the eviction from the U.S. of a sector of immigrants, it does not dismantle the massive deportation machine that operates in this country nor create a pathway to citizenship—key components of comprehensive immigration reform. Authentic immigration reform begins with the recognition that U.S. immigration laws, from their inception, have been informed by discriminatory narratives. The first immigration law, the Naturalization Act of 1790, made it possible for those born elsewhere to become citizens—but only if they were “free white persons” (“white” meaning certain Europeans, and “persons” essentially meaning men), excluding enslaved people, Native Americans, those without property, most women, and all others not defined as white. Only property-owning white male citizens could vote.

Shirin Ali 6-26-2020

A person wearing a shirt with a message in San Diego, Calif. June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Several Democratic senators grilled Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan. 

DACA recipient Luz Chavez celebrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the court ruled in a 5-4 vote that President Donald Trump's 2017 move to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. Washington, D.C., June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Even as we allow ourselves to savor this victory and be lifted by the hope of this moment, we also need to prepare and strategize for what’s next, because the fight for immigration justice is far from over. The justices of the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of whether Trump is allowed to end DACA — but rather on the way in which he attempted to do so.

The building of the U.S. Supreme Court is pictured in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2020. REUTERS/Will Dunham

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against Donald Trump's bid to end a program that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants, dubbed "Dreamers," who entered the United States illegally as children.

Image via  REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Like grocery store workers and first responders, domestic workers occupy a space on the frontlines of the pandemic. While some care for the elderly and people with chronic illnesses in their homes, others face dwindling job prospects, with little savings to stock up on the groceries and cleaning supplies Americans have flocked to stores for.

September 2019: President Donald Trump visits a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa, California. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

The administration is pursuing every tactic at its disposal – many of which have been temporarily stalled by the courts – to impede the path to citizenship and to reduce legal immigration avenues to the U.S.

Rishika Pardikar 2-04-2020

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the White House Summit on Human Trafficking in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Last week, just days before he addresses the nation in the State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that placed restrictions on nationals from Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania from traveling to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security said the restrictions will go into effect Feb. 21.