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.
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
We pray to you
When our hermanas Negras
Are being maimed
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
In this violent crisis, not significantly mitigated by President Trump’s recent executive order,every Catholic bishop becomes a “border bishop.” The tools of active nonviolence offer a way forward. In the first World Day of Peace message, Blessed Pope Paul VI said, “Peace is the only true direction of human progress — and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order.” He warned of “the danger of believing that international controversies cannot be resolved by the ways of reason, that is, by negotiations founded on law, justice, and equity, but only by means of deterrent and murderous forces.”
Trump signed an executive order requiring immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally for as long as their criminal proceedings take. While that may end a policy that drew a rebuke from Pope Francis and everyone else from human rights advocates to business leaders, it may also mean immigrant children remain in custody indefinitely.
A breathtaking number of faith groups across denominations and traditions have condemned the Trump administration’s new decision to separate families at the border, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ remarks about why this practice is biblical. From leaders like Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention and Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, even Franklin Graham, a longtime and vocal Trump supporter, to groups like the Sikh Coalition, the Jewish Orthodox Union, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Friends Committee have all made statements condemning the approach. Here are a few statements from some of the organizations that have spoken out against the separation of families, and the policies pursued by the Trump administration.
The Trump administration on Monday defended its hardline immigration policy at the U.S.-Mexico border as criticism mounted over detained immigrant parents being separated from their children, including video of youngsters sitting in concrete-floored cages.
The government said on Friday that 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults at the U.S.-Mexico border between April 19 and May 31, as the Trump administration implements stricter border enforcement policies.
“In my 20 years here being engaged in frontline immigration work, this was probably my most difficult and hopeless day. There were probably 120 migrants looking for support. Most were coming from Guatemala and Honduras and wanting to seek asylum. There were alot [sic] of women with children who were fleeing horrible domestic violence situations where their ex-husbands are trying to kill them. They had no idea that Attorney General Sessions has changed the laws and that they can't even apply, or if they do, they will be separated from their kids. It was so painful to see them process this news and they are so far from home.”
In some instances, these parents are saying they don’t know where their children are or how they will be reunited with their kids. Marco Antonio Muñoz took his own life in a Texas jail soon after the government “separated” the Honduran man, his wife and their 3-year-old son. The undocumented family had entered the U.S. to seek political asylum.