Immigration

Trump Protester: 'Because My Last Name Was Gonzalez ... I Was Transferred to Immigration Custody'

Jacinta Gonzalez. Image via Puente Arizona / Youtube

Three protestors — two white, one Latina — were arrested March 19 for chaining themselves to cars and blocking traffic headed to a Donald Trump rally, reports .Mic.

Of the three, only one was transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate her legal status. And guess which one it was.

Undocumented Flint Residents Arrested Searching for Clean Water

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

When you turn on the faucet in Flint, Mich. you don’t just get water — you also get the potent neurotoxin lead. And without a driver’s license, Flint residents are being refused bottled water from the city, so undocumented people have to search elsewhere for clean water, reports America magazineDeacon Omar Odette of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Flint says that members of his parish have been arrested by immigration authorities for not having documentation.

Why Sanctuary Churches Welcome Immigrants

Gran Turismo / Shutterstock
Gran Turismo / Shutterstock

FOR CHRISTIANS who live near the U.S.-Mexico border, Jesus’ command to “love our neighbors as ourselves” takes on a particular urgency when we see our neighbors fleeing violence from their home countries and then being deported back at an alarming rate.

At Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, where I am pastor, we have a history of loving our neighbors by offering them protective sanctuary to shield them from deportation.

Sanctuary is an ancient biblical tradition. In Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and 1 Kings, scriptures describe the right of asylum in cities of refuge set aside for those accused of manslaughter until the truth of the matter could be resolved. There is also the tradition of those who seek the safety of the temple by clinging to the “horns of the altar” (1 Kings 1:50).

In the U.S., churches involved in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad provided sanctuary to escaping slaves. In the Vietnam War era, churches protected conscientious objectors. During the brutal wars in Central America in the 1980s, hundreds of U.S. churches declared a national sanctuary movement, protecting tens of thousands of refugees from being deported to almost certain death. Southside Presbyterian was one of the founding churches of the 1980s sanctuary movement.

In May 2014, after another wave of deportations, our congregation made a public declaration to once again become a sanctuary church. We welcomed Daniel Ruiz, a local undocumented father, into protection. After 28 days living in the church, he received a stay of deportation.

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Political Xenophobia: Back and Stronger Than Ever

Image from 1856 work: Americanism versus Romanism. Via wikimedia commons.

There’s a name for xenophobic-motivated politics: nativism. Oxford Dictionaries defines nativism as: 1)The policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants, and 2) A return to or emphasis on traditional or local customs, in opposition to outside influences.

Pope Francis: Responding in Both Word and Deed

a katz / Shutterstock.com

You probably saw the media frenzy around Pope Francis’s comments aboard the papal plane on his trip back to Rome from Mexico last week. When asked about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border, the pope said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

However, I was struck most by the pope’s following remarks, which were omitted from several mainstream media accounts — when he said of Trump’s plans, “This is not in the Gospel.”

Will We Live Alone, Behind Walls of Our Making?

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Francis is right. The spirit of religion is about healing and nurturing and bringing together. And he puts the question into the politically charged air once again: Walls or bridges? What’s it going to be? 

Do we open ourselves to the spirit that wants to give us new hearts? Or do we choose to have hearts as cold as a stone wall?

WATCH: Stephen Colbert Wants to Broker a Peace Between Pope Francis and Donald Trump

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube
Photo via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube

As "America's foremost Catholic," Stephen Colbert feels uniquely positioned to "broker a peace" between the two. He laid out his rationale on his late show.

“Mr. Trump, Mr. Pope (I believe that’s his formal name) is it possible that you’re fighting because you have so much in common?" said Colbert.

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