Matthew Soerens 12-21-2018

CBP officials detain a group of migrants after they crossed illegally from Mexico to the U.S, as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 7, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” —Genesis 1:27 NIV

But we have too often used language that denies the truth that each immigrant — regardless of their country of origin, legal status, ethnicity, religion, or any other qualifier — is a person made in your image, with inherent dignity and potential.

Tom Hals, Reuters 12-19-2018

Asylum seekers wait on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge, July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

A U.S. judge struck down Trump administration policies aimed at restricting asylum claims by people citing gang or domestic violence in their home countries and ordered the U.S. government to bring back six deported migrants to reconsider their cases.

Andrew Hay, Reuters 12-18-2018

A picture of Jakelin is seen during a protest to demand justice for her, in El Paso, Texas, Dec. 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

U.S. Border Patrol agents who detained a 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant girl who later died in federal custody will not speak with U.S. lawmakers investigating her death, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Monday, citing their union membership.

Benjamin Perry 12-17-2018

A woman holds a picture of Jakelin during a protest in El Paso, Texas. Dec. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Twelve days before Christmas, 7-year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin died from dehydration eight hours after she was apprehended by border patrol. While this is a horrible tragedy, the harrowing truth is that that her death (and the deaths of many other migrants) is the logical outcome of our nation’s immigration policy decisions. According to an unclassified government report obtained by ABC News, Maquin’s death appears to have been one of four people who died this crossing the border month, and one of more than 260 this year.

Stephen Mattson 12-13-2018

Anything can label itself as being “Christian,” so we must always look to the person of Christ to guide us, because he already laid out a life for us that perfectly reflects what it means to be God incarnate on earth. Christ is everything.

Migrant people hold the now and the not yet in tension. In the midst of waiting to make it up north and taking their turn for a credible fear interview at the border, life continues. People find ways to feel alive, to keep hope alive. At La Casa del Peregrino, holding on to hope looked like doing karaoke, coloring banners, and making beaded bracelets. They were not devoid of life.

the Web Editors 12-07-2018

The group, called Shut Tornillo Down Coalition, says that the center adds to the abuse of vulnerable children by imprisoning them and separating them from their families and causes them deep harm by compounding on already existent trauma. 

Dani Gabriel 12-06-2018

Image via Wael Alreweie/Shutterstock 

Lee: I would like faith communities to stretch themselves. We are being called to stretch. So much is being tested and contested in our political world and in the world that we're living. Some faith communities are feeling it very directly and some may be insulated from it, but I think our invitation to faith communities is to be willing to take some leaps of faith and to step off the curb. Get out of our comfort zones. These are extraordinary times and we're going to have to push ourselves to respond to these extraordinary times with equal measure. That’s going to mean trying things we haven't done before.

Pilar Timpane 12-03-2018

A group of Samuel Oliver-Bruno's supporters. Photo by Pilar Timpane. 

The space of Samuel Oliver-Bruno’s “home” while in sanctuary is filled with signs he thought he’d return from a biometrics appointment at U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Morrisville, N.C., scheduled at the immigration control office’s request. His work on construction projects around the basement at the CityWell church in Durham, N.C., seems stalled in time. Painting supplies, clothes, other personal items stilled exactly as he left them, where he was working diligently just days before his life was altered irrevocably. A prayer room he helped to build is silent.

Tobias Winright 11-29-2018

Photo Credit: Shutterstock 

When I was in the police academy, each of us recruits were sprayed point-blank in the face with oleoresin capsicum (OC), a cayenne pepper-based spray. This was done for two reasons: first, this experience would help us to know what it feels like when we use it on someone so that we would use it only when truly necessary; second, in case we ever were sprayed unintentionally, we had to still find our radio or a way to safety. Indeed, I’ll never forget the excruciating burning sensation and excessive mucus that put me out of commission for much of the rest of the day.

Mihee Kim-Kort 11-27-2018

Image of John Allen Chau obtained from social media on Nov. 23, 2018. @JOHNACHAU/via REUTERS 

Last week, the world was introduced to John Allen Chau, the U.S. American “adventurer” and missionary who was killed by an indigenous group on North Sentinel Island. According to a statement from missionary organization All Nations, Chau was a “seasoned traveler who was well-versed in cross-cultural issues” and had “previously taken part in missions projects in Iraq, Kurdistan and South Africa.” Now, Indian police have begun the dangerous mission of trying to recover the body even though a tribal rights group has urged officials to call off the search, claiming it puts them and the indigenous group in danger.

Asylum seekers traveling from Central America en route to the United States cross the Tijuana river to reach the border fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

When children scream from tear gas where they’ve been told to wait,
when signs tell families, “Don’t pass!” outside our nation’s gate—
O Lord who welcomed children and loves each little one,
we cry, “Where is compassion?” We pray, “What have we done?”

Aaron E. Sanchez 11-21-2018

Steve Shreve / Unsplash

The first cast in the ochre light of the dawning sun is a morning prayer, filled with hope and faith that ceremonies sought in earnest will feed the soul. I reel dutifully, waiting for a faint tap on the end of my line. My father stands at the front of the boat, scanning for ripples on the water in the low light. “Wachale!” he exclaims in joking Spanglish as he reels in the first largemouth of the day. Two Mexican-Americans bass fishing in Texas. This is the face of the Reconquista.

Jeania Ree V. Moore 11-20-2018

THE YEAR 2019 marks 400 years since a boat carrying “20 and odd” enslaved Africans landed at Point Comfort in colonial Virginia. To commemorate this and other historic 1619 events, Virginia will host “American Evolution,” a yearlong celebration in which these events have been transmuted into national values. The arrival of enslaved Africans on American shores has become “diversity.”

Yet, last summer a West African immigrant was deported back to Africa to face slavery, in a transatlantic reversal of journeys that underscores the persistence of immorality in this involuntary passage.

On Aug. 22, Seyni Diagne, a 64-year-old immigrant battling kidney cancer and hepatitis B, was deported from Dulles International Airport in Virginia to his home country of Mauritania after 17 years in the U.S. There he faces enslavement through forced labor. Mauritania has one of the highest rates of slavery in the world, impacting more than 40,000 black Mauritanians.

The day following Diagne’s deportation was the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The Commonwealth of Virginia chose to mark it by recognizing the first Africans in English North America.

Fifteen fugitive slaves arriving in Philadelphia in July 1856. Engraving from William Still/Shutterstock. 

When I landed at the airport in Brownsville, Texas, the Border Patrol was visibly present. I was suddenly reminded of my ancestors who were also greeted by “border patrol” while fleeing from the brutal chattel slavery in the southern states and making their way north – even all the way to Canada.

"Wall of Hope" 2010 Vigil for Marcelo Lucero. Image courtesy of Long Island Wins. 

On Nov. 8, 2008, Marcelo Lucero, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador working at a dry cleaning store, was attacked by seven teenagers from the local high school in Patchogue, Long Island, and stabbed to death. His attack, according to testimony, was part of a weekend “sport” in which these teenagers routinely targeted and attacked brown-skinned people.

Bishop Ludwig Müller with members of the Nazi Party. Altered image from Wikimedia Commons/German Federal Archives. 

Lately, I have been asking myself the following question: How can sincere Christians embrace white nationalism? My question stems less from surprise and more from a desire to understand the mechanics. In church circles and in seminary, I heard about Barth, Bonhoeffer, and those who resisted. But I rarely heard about the majority of white Christians who supported a demagogue whose rhetoric had violent consequences.

Sandy Ovalle 10-31-2018

Migrant from Honduras carries daughter amid a caravan from Central America en route to the U.S. Image via Reuters/Adrees Latif

Requesting asylum by presenting at a point of entry is the legal way to seek protection; it's not an assault on this country. To "other" brown-bodied people is destructive, especially if they’re in vulnerable situations, because it creates categories that automatically view some as superior. This has been the basis for many of the world’s greatest tragedies. Fear is the basis of all of these accusations.

Helen Salita 10-29-2018

In March, the Trump administration added a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census. Multiple lawsuits have been brought against this addition. The last time some form of citizenship question was asked on the census was 1950. If this question wasn’t asked for six consecutive censuses, then why is the Trump administration pushing to reinstate it now?

Central American migrants a border connecting Guatemala and Mexico. Oct. 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino.

A group of over a thousand Central Americans in Guatemala headed toward the Mexican border on Tuesday, as a larger caravan of migrants that has angered U.S. President Donald Trump paused in southern Mexico on its planned journey toward the U.S. border.

Trump has vowed to begin cutting millions of dollars in aid to Central America and called the caravan in Mexico a national emergency as he seeks to boost his Republican Party's chances in the Nov. 6 congressional elections.