Immigration

MAP: Detention Facilities in the U.S.

The United States currently maintains 34,000 beds and spends nearly $2 billion a year to detain immigrants, according to the ACLU and Detention Watch Network.

These individuals, like the Guatemalan grandmother described in Patty Kupfer's article “Waiting for a Miracle” (Sojourners, April 2014), are, for the most part, not criminals. Yet, 11 million immigrants in the U.S. are forced to live in the shadows and are at risk of deportation.

The following map shows the addresses of the 250 facilities and jails that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency uses to detain and deport immigrants. Many thanks to Detention Watch Network for helping us with the research of this map.

Map credits: Kara Lofton and Elaina Ramsey

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New & Noteworthy

The Spirit’s Work
Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human, by Walter Wink with Steven Berry, is the final book by the late, influential Christian thinker. It blends brief autobiographical vignettes with essays on key themes in Wink’s work, offering insights into how his life story shaped his faith, thought, and witness. Image

Border Truths
On “Strangers No Longer”: Perspectives on the Historic U.S.-Mexican Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Migration is a collection of essays by scholars and policy experts that uses the 2003 pastoral letter on immigration “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope” as its starting point. Paulist Press

Joy and Power
The latest album by Beninese Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, Eve, celebrates the strength and beauty of women. It is inspired by a women’s choir Kidjo heard while visiting Kenya as a UNICEF ambassador; several choirs from Benin and Kenya are featured on the album. 429 Records

Divine Feast
Spiritually hungry? O Taste and See: A Biblical Reflection on Experiencing God is an extended meditation on Psalm 34:8 by theologian and poet Bonnie Thurston that explores the rich nourishment and layers of meaning to be found in the words “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Paraclete Press

 

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Waiting for a Miracle

JUANA TOBAR SAYS she is waiting for a miracle from God. She’s the mother of four wonderful children and a grandmother of two young girls. Her husband, Carlos, a U.S. citizen, calls her the “glue of their family” and his soul mate. Juana has lived in North Carolina for more than 20 years and serves as an usher in her church, but in the coming weeks the Obama administration will be deciding whether or not to deport her back to Guatemala.

Juana’s case is not unusual. According to its own statistics, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported approximately 400,000 immigrants per year since President Obama took office in 2009. In March, he’s set to reach the dubious marker of 2 million deportations, more than any other president. Many of us who work with immigrant communities are left asking: Why would a president—especially one who enthusiastically supports immigration reform that would give the undocumented a chance to stay in the country and earn citizenship—so aggressively deport the same immigrants who could be legalized through reform?

Our best guess is that when Obama entered office, his administration made a calculation that if they showed they were serious about enforcement, lawmakers would be more likely to come to the table and negotiate. That goodwill never materialized. Now, five years later, ICE is feeling increasing heat from immigrant advocates.

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NY's Human Stake: Immigration Reform & State Of The Union

But there is no doubt about it, according to Jim Wallis, founder of the faith in action group Sojourners. "I think he will raise this tonight,” Wallis says. “It's a high priority for the president, and I think it's a social movement now. “Doing something right, doing something for the common good and doing it together – I think that's very possible now." Wallis says he expects the faith community in New York and the nation to play an even greater role this year, and he believes a comprehensive immigration reform plan will be passed in the next six months.

Fast For Families Tour Of US Promotes Immigration Reform

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, said the campaign is for all immigrants. “This is not just about Latino communities,” Wallis said. “It’s about all of us.” Wallis said the movement is important and requires a group of people to change the broken political system and the broken immigration system. “We are a wind changing group,” Wallis said. “We are a social movement changing politics.”

Evangelical Leaders Praise House Republican Support For Path To Legal Status For Unauthorized Immigrants

On Thursday, the EIT announced its support for the House Republican reform proposals. EIT leaders hail from the left and right of the political spectrum, including leaders of Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Evangelical Leaders Praise House Republican Support For Path To Legal Status For Unauthorized Immigrants

On Thursday, the EIT announced its support for the House Republican reform proposals. EIT leaders hail from the left and right of the political spectrum, including leaders of Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Release Letter To Congress On Immigration Reform

Responding to Bishop DiMarzio, Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, said, “we also say it’s a Gospel issue. I know for Evangelicals, we’ve been converted by [the Gospel of] Matthew [Chapter] 25, and realize now that how we treat 11 million undocumented people is how we treat Christ himself. This for us is a Gospel issue.”

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