Tom Hals, Reuters 7-13-2018

Walter Armando Jimenez Melendez, an asylum seeker from El Salvador, arrives with his four year-old son Jeremy at La Posada Providencia shelter in San Benito, Texas, U.S., shortly after he said they were reunited following separation since late May while in detention July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

"They took the children from us without any explanation," said Isabela, who asked that only her first name be used. "I felt I had lost her, that I could not find her."

Douglas Massey 7-13-2018

Image via REUTERS/Adrees Latif

All data indicate that undocumented migration from Mexico, in particular, has ended and at this point more unauthorized Mexicans are leaving the country than entering it. According to estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, the Center for Migration Studies and the Department of Homeland Security, the undocumented Mexican population stopped growing in 2008 and has been trending downward ever since.

Sandi Villarreal 7-10-2018

Photo by Kayla Lattimore/Sojourners

RAICES Texas — the San Antonio-based immigration legal services provider that has received tens of millions of dollars via a viral Facebook fundraising campaign launched amid the family separation crisis at the border — today announced a plan to distribute $20 million of their funds: give it over to the Department of Homeland Security to “post bonds” for mothers being held in detention.

the Web Editors 7-06-2018

1. Women Faith Leaders Bear Witness at the U.S.-Mexico Border
“Gloria Anzaldúa famously referred to the U.S.-Mexico border as una herida abierta — an open wound. … But if the border is a wound, then perhaps we can best describe our nation as doubting Thomas before his encounter with Christ.”

2. Americans Are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why.
From The New York Times. Spoiler alert: Babies are expensive.

Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

U.S. Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego last month ordered the government to stop separating children from immigrant parents entering the United States illegally and set deadlines for the government to reunite families.

A protester is seen on the Statue of Liberty in New York, ]July 4, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. Danny Owens/via REUTERS

A New York woman was due to be arraigned in federal court on Thursday, a day after she scaled the stone pedestal of the Statue of Liberty to protest immigration policy.

Jim Wallis 7-05-2018

An immigration activist outside the White House in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It is time for people of faith and conscience to demand nothing less than an immediate and complete reunification of separated families — and demonstrate our willingness to play a role in this process. We have spoken out to stop the separation, but we still have the moral imperative to fix it for those who have been torn from their parents. I have recently been in meetings with bipartisan groups of senators who want to see this issue fixed, who care very deeply about finding lasting solutions, and who are asking for the help of the faith community.

Stephen Mattson 7-03-2018

But once back in America, these very same Christians will adamantly oppose having “foreigners” as neighbors, loathing the idea that they could possibly be allowed to cross into the border of the United States seeking a better life. So while they post pictures on social media of themselves surrounded by poor children and holding babies they personally cared for, they’ll post nothing about the children and babies being separated from their parents at the border.

Jean Neely 7-03-2018

Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

We in the church have clung too tightly to our country’s myths of exceptionalism. We’ve been too slow to name the real “terror within” and unwilling to listen to those telling us of terror all around. We’ve been reluctant to own up to our history and speak out against unjust policies . We don’t like to think or talk about it, but most of us know that our quality of life here comes directly at the expense of everyone else on the planet (not to mention the planet itself), millions of ordinary folks whose countries have been ravaged by centuries of colonialism and persistent neocolonial structures, who make our clothes and gadgets, grow our food and coffee, and pay in countless other ways for all our out-of-control consumption and addictions. Their problems are our problems. So we can’t set them aside.

Ayari Marie Aguayo 7-02-2018

When we lose our dreams
To be educated
And are afraid
Of being incarcerated

We pray to you
Dios te salve, María,

When we don’t know
Where to go
To be a Sitting Bull
Or a Standing Rock

We pray to you
llena eres de gracia,

When your naturaleza
Showed us no mercy
And the politicians
Shut down our Borinquen

We pray to you
el Señor esta contigo.

When we’ve picked
All the grapes
Without an actual
Bathroom break

We pray to you
Bendita eres

When our hermanas Negras
Are being maimed
And ashamed
By racism, sexism, bigotry

We pray to you
entre todas las mujeres,

When we fight for
Farm workers’ rights
While hiding from
Our men’s grips at night

We pray to you
y bendito es el fruto

Rosel Labone 7-01-2018

Drummers from the group 'Rise and Resist.' Photo by Rosel Labone

More than 10,000 protesters gathered at Foley Square in downtown Manhattan Saturday morning to march against the Trump administration’s policy on immigration. The New York march was part of a nationwide series of rallies organized by advocacy groups, legal and immigrants’ rights organizations, trade unions, and concerned citizens.

Holly Honderich 7-01-2018

Susana Sandoval, 46, leads members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance into Lafayette Square on Saturday morning. Holly Honderich/Medill News Service

Thousands of protesters clad in white and armed with signs denouncing President Donald Trump rallied Saturday in more than 90-degree heat against the Trump administration’s immigration policy and the “zero-tolerance” approach that has separated children from their parents after they crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S.

Christina Colón 7-01-2018

Protesters outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Tens of thousands gathered in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., Saturday to call for an end to family separation. Braving a scorching 95-degree heat, people had come from all over the country to attend the Families Belong Together event. Organizers had three demands for President Trump: Reunite families, end family detention, and reverse the “zero tolerance” policy.

the Web Editors 6-30-2018

Jonathan Reed of Silver Spring, Md., holds up a sign as he stands in a spray of water from a fire truck during rally in Washington, D.C. June 30. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in cities across the United States on Saturday to demand the Trump administration reverse an immigration crackdown that has separated children from parents at the U.S-Mexico border and led to plans for military-run detention camps.

Adam R. Taylor 6-26-2018

Sojourners is encouraging more communities of faith to hold vigils around the country. We are calling on clergy, faith-based organizations, and Christians everywhere to lift up prayers and candles as a recommitment to the light that can hold back these dark times.

Trees cast shadows outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

The 5-4 ruling, with the court's five conservatives in the majority, ends for now a fierce fight in the courts over whether the policy represented an unlawful Muslim ban. Trump can now claim vindication after lower courts had blocked his travel ban announced in September, as well as two prior versions, in legal challenges brought by the state of Hawaii and others.

PRE-EXPERIENCE: Welcome! You’re alone except for a receptionist, who gently asks you to sign a waiver and gestures to the couch. The sand-colored cushions perfectly complement the soft pink glow of the wall and a pot of shellacked succulents. The coffee is pleasantly warm. The room temperature is perfect. Everything is fine.

 

You’re here for “Carne y Arena,” a virtual reality experience created by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The project recreates the experiences of immigrants who cross the Mexico-U.S. border. In 2017, “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”) won a Special Award Oscar, the first given for virtual reality. The exhibit accommodates only one visitor at a time, at 15-minute intervals.

You wait on the couch, feeling a twinge of anxiety over an immersive experience that requires isolation and allows no cameras or notebooks. You contemplate the Pinterest-nirvana of the lobby and scratch a few notes while you can.

Entry: So where are we, exactly?

Soon, you’re escorted through the doors of the exhibit, which is housed in an old Baptist church in a gentrifying neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The project will take place across three rooms, a triptych of the migrant experience.

The church was slated for demolition before “Carne y Arena.” On the way in, you pass walls that look strangely familiar—you’ll later realize they are repurposed fence panels from the U.S.-Mexico border, turned horizontal to fit the dimensions of the house of God. You’re pretty sure that works as a metaphor, but before you can chew on it, you’re inside.

Whitney Parnell 6-25-2018

Image via REUTERS/Loren Elliott

The current outrage around families being detained and separated is important, but we must bear in mind that it aligns with a national history. Our Native siblings had their land taken from them, their families wiped out so the U.S. could be “founded.” My own ancestors had their children ripped away from them during slavery sales. Our Japanese siblings were placed in armed internment camps during the second World War — a history that this nation has often tried to avoid as much as possible. Last year, we saw an attempt to block immigrants and refugees from primarily Muslim nations, commonly known as the “Muslim Ban.”

FILE PHOTO: Children at Rio Grande Valley Centralized Processing Center in Rio Grande City, Texas, U.S., June 17, 2018. Courtesy CBP/Handout via REUTERS

The deep moral collision over ripping children out of their families has been a lightning flash in the dark, lighting up the deeper issues beneath. But like a lightning flash, it may vanish before we can attune our eyes to see the deeper truths and questions.

Jim Wallis 6-21-2018

People participate in a protest outside the Tornillo Tranit Centre, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 17, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Lozano

Let’s be clear: All Trump did was decide to detain families together in prison camps going forward, and there is no clear plan yet to re-unify the more than 2,300 children who have already been orphaned and sent away from their parents under his administration’s cruel policy. Those separations could be forever if the enormous task of reunification is not carefully undertaken.