Immigration

“Are we going to have to worry about ICE agents swooping down on our clients on distribution day?” he said. “What if my congregation chose to offer sanctuary to an immigrant facing deportation? Would we have to worry about immigration officers and sheriff’s deputies kicking down our front door?”

Bishop Mark Beckwith, who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Newark in New Jersey, says at least 10 of the 100 congregations in his diocese have parishioners who are affected by the new policies. He described a heightened sense of urgency as his diocese investigates what its collective response should be.

“What is so upsetting about this is we don’t know what a safe space is,” he said, citing uncertainty about whether the traditional status of churches as sanctuaries will be respected. “We need to move as fast as these executive orders are moving. That’s the challenge. We are grounded in our biblical faith and we need to respond.”

Jim Wallis 02-22-2017

People of faith join the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. Photo by JP Keenan / Sojourners

Many people in our nation, and indeed around the world, are scared by the things happening in Washington. Those most affected by the actions of this administration are especially afraid. But today, we announce a plan of action in response.

 

the Web Editors 02-21-2017

New policies also allow for easier immediate deportation by expanding the expedited removal process. This specific part of the policy allows U.S Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people at a faster rate from anywhere in the country. DHS has also ordered 10,000 new immigration and customs agents, plus the revival of a program that qualifies local police officers to assist in deportation. 

Dhanya Addanki 02-17-2017

Photo by Dhanya Addanki/Sojourners

“The practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement right now are not in line with who we say we are as a government and a country,” Kumpf said. “What they did was legally on the line of violating the Sensitive Locations Memo. That’s extraordinarily morally reprehensible.”

Drafted in 2011, the Sensitive Locations Memo places restrictions on ICE enforcement in sensitive locations such as schools, places of worship, and hospitals. Many at the gathering felt that the sensitive lines of sanctuary were crossed on the morning of the Feb 8.

Norma Pimentel 02-17-2017

One year ago, Pope Francis visited the Mexican-U.S. border and prayed for migrants who have lost their lives seeking refuge in our country. His prayer transcended the dusty fences and united two countries in a silent cry for mercy on behalf of our brothers and sisters who died on their journey.

Sean Carroll 02-16-2017

Image via RNS/Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

On Feb. 8, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos went to Mass and said a prayer before voluntarily going to her biannual appointment at the immigration office in Phoenix.

Guadalupe knew that, because of President Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement, she was now considered a high priority for deportation and could be sent back to Mexico, leaving her two teenage children, both of them U.S. citizens.

the Web Editors 02-15-2017

Syrian mother with three children in one of the Asylum Centers near Belgrade on Jan. 31. Zeljko Sinobad / Shutterstock.com

World Relief, a global humanitarian organization and one of the main non-governmental organizations involved in the U.S. refugee resettlement program, announced today that the organization is laying off at least 140 employees and shuttering five local offices "as a direct result of the recent decision by the Trump Administration to dramatically reduce the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. throughout fiscal year 2017."

the Web Editors 02-14-2017

Image via Ryan Bodrick Beiler/Shutterstock.com

On Feb. 16 immigrants in Washington, D.C., plan to go on strike from work and other economic engagements, creating a “Day Without Immigrants,” just as immigrants in Wisconsin did on Feb. 13, reports the Washingtonian.

A flyer advertising the “Day Without Immigrants” calls for immigrants to avoid shopping, going to work, and eating at restaurants.

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

Receiving a prestigious human rights prize, an Iraqi lawmaker, who gained international attention for her oppressed Yazidi religious minority, decried the Trump administration’s “unfair” executive order on immigration.

Jasper Vaughn 02-06-2017

While the ban remains inactive after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the U.S. government’s request to resume travel restrictions, legal challenges by Trump’s administration will continue. Christians must join in solidarity with our refugee brothers and sisters and continue to denounce both the ideology and methodology of the ban. 

 

Russell Jeung 02-03-2017

Photo courtesy Rev. Tim Tseng

This anti-Asian xenophobia is both individual and institutional in that it shapes our governmental policies. Although Japanese Americans as whole were unjustly incarcerated in World War II, an act deemed unconstitutional, Trump and his advisors employ historic internment as a rationale for detaining current minority groups.

 

Image via Jerome Socolovsky/ RNS 

True, the executive order, which includes a restriction on travel to the U.S. for nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days, does not directly refer to followers of Islam. But that doesn’t mean it’s not aimed at them, critics say. 

 

Image via RNS/Reuters/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump vowed to make good on a campaign promise to repeal the law that restricts political speech from the pulpit, speaking at his first National Prayer Breakfast as president.

“I will get rid of, totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment, and allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear,” he said on Feb. 2 to a gathering of 3,500 faith leaders, politicians, and other dignitaries from around the world, including King Abdullah of Jordan.

Image via Creative Commons/Dragan Tatic

As the only female Yazidi in the Iraqi Parliament, Dakhil fought tirelessly for international assistance to stop the violence, including sexual slavery, targeting her beleaguered people.

Now she has been awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize in Washington, D.C. But she is unlikely to make the ceremony on Feb. 8, since President Donald Trump banned all travelers from Iraq.

Jim Wallis 01-31-2017

Supreme Court rally calling for the reversal of President Trump’s travel ban on refugees and immigrants. by Lorie Shaull / Flickr.com

For Christians, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes clear that how we treat “the stranger” is how we treat him. That’s what the Gospel text says. And the “stranger” literally means immigrants and refugees — the citizens of other nations living and traveling among us. Therefore, this is a faith issue for us as Christians. Donald Trump’s executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is in conflict with our Christian faith, and we will oppose it as a matter of faith.

Keith D. Ray II 01-31-2017

"REMEMBER YOU are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Each year the community of Jesus stands at the beginning of the season of Lent and recalls death, mortality, corporeality. We are dust. We are dying. And, as the pastor smears the mark of the cross on the foreheads of the faithful on Ash Wednesday, she says, “Remember you are dust.”

Such an awareness is where resurrection hope begins. It must. How can one celebrate resurrection hope without first understanding that we are dust and to dust we shall return? The act of marking ourselves with ashes is not morbid. Such rituals of death and resurrection give witness to God’s grace for both the dead and those who love them.

But what happens when there is no body over which to mourn?

In circumstances where a loved one’s body is lost, the pain and grief are magnified. A plane disappears over the depths of the waters, and bodies are never found. A person goes missing, and remains are never recovered. Whatever the circumstance, a funeral without a body is almost always a source of extra pain. Not only is a loved one dead, but the ritual act of tending to their body is taken away.

There are people in the United States, Mexico, and Central America who experience such trauma largely because of U.S. border policy. As people die migrating through the desert lands of the southern border of the United States, their bodies are literally returning to dust, and their suffering is largely invisible. Rather than receiving ritual care from family and community at the time of death, these immigrants die alone. Their remains are left in the desert, discovered only by chance.

A humanitarian crisis at the border

LAST SUMMER, THE FUTURE of for-profit prisons seemed bleak. The U.S. Department of Justice announced it would begin phasing out its use of privately run prisons and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security quickly followed suit, declaring that it would reconsider its use of privately run detention centers. Stocks for companies that ran for-profit prisons plunged.

But then Donald Trump was elected president, and private prison stocks immediately soared. The nation’s largest prison company, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), reported a boost of more than 40 percent in the value of its shares. Given Trump’s promises to “create a new special deportation task force,” investors bet that privately run detention centers will play a key role.

And the investors may be right. Every year, DHS detains about 400,000 undocumented immigrants in 250 centers nationwide, and 62 percent of the beds in these centers are operated by for-profit corporations.

According to Maria-José Soerens, a licensed mental-health counselor serving undocumented immigrants in Seattle, there are two major problems with for-profit detention centers. First, for-profit centers are not held accountable to the standards that govern federally run centers. In her work in these centers, Soerens has heard complaints ranging from a lack of medical attention to inadequate opportunities for parent-child visitation; one young woman who was having suicidal thoughts was kept in solitary confinement until she told guards she was “better.”

But the deepest problem, explains Soerens, is that most detention centers only exist because corporations saw a “business opportunity.” Beginning in the early 2000s, for-profit prison companies successfully lobbied Congress to expand drastically the number of beds in the immigration detention system—a move that doubled the revenue of the two largest for-profit prison companies. In 1998, there were 14,000 beds available for immigrant detention; today, there are 34,000.

the Web Editors 01-27-2017

1. What Will You Do if Donald Trump Deports Me?
“If you are an ally, a friend, or a decent human being who understands that immigrants and refugees work hard, play by the rules and are proud aspiring Americans, then read this guide.”

2. Here’s How Franklin Graham Justifies Trump’s Expected Refugee Ban
“It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue.” :thinking:

Stephen Mattson 01-25-2017

For the last few years Christians have been singing worship songs that include lyrics like “ keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise …” and yet have rejected refugees who’ve seen loved ones die beneath waves, who themselves have literally struggled to keep from drowning in oceans. Those American Christians — particularly white evangelicals — continue to sing the words: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …” but fail to realize the shameful irony that they’re largely responsible for refusing shelter and opportunity to some of the world’s most helpless and oppressed people.

The Clifton Mosque in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

A Cincinnati area mosque announced it would join the burgeoning church sanctuary movement in the U.S., possibly becoming the first Islamic house of worship to do so.

The announcement came on the eve of the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, who took a hard-line stance on immigration and proposed a national Muslim registry during his campaign.

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