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Statement on End to ICE Raids and Support for Sanctuary

message-bishop-newThis month we began another year demonstrating that the only wisdom that our U.S. Department of Homeland Security seems to have for addressing the plight of undocumented immigrants, is to bully them and mistreat them. To conduct ICE raids upon homes with sleeping children and their already traumatized mothers, is no wisdom at all, but it is inhumane and irresponsible.

Families that have come to this country fleeing violence, persecution, and deadly poverty in Central America and seeking asylum, deserve more humanity. These families under attack by ICE are not criminals, they are not here to undermine our society; they are our brothers and sisters on the edge of death.

In my area people of faith have been caring for these families from Central America. We can attest to the fact that they have indeed suffered in ways that no mother, father or child should suffer. As we have worked with them we find that U.S. immigration policies that dictate how these families will present themselves for legal processing are confusing, complicated, and unhelpful particularly to persons who have no permanent home, often no means of transportation, no support system, and absolutely no safety net. While there may be a small minority of undocumented Central Americans who choose to ignore the immigration processes of this country, I would argue from the experience of providing pastoral care to immigrants, that they are on the whole families wanting to do what is right to protect the lives of their family members and particularly their children. We need to help them and not add to their trauma and suffering.

Over the decades of struggling with our broken immigration policies in this country, we people of faith who have stood with our immigrant brothers and sisters have learned that the laws that govern immigration in the U.S. are not only unjust, but discourage us from living out our faith imperatives to love and help our neighbor with particular concern for those who suffer most. It is time to stand up and set aside discouragement with a renewed commitment to helping immigrant families. We must certainly stand against raids upon women and children.

And so we stand together on this day to oppose ICE raids on Central American families, to offer sanctuary to these families, and to renew our commitment to work for immigration reform in this country.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE to Tell the Obama Administration: Stop the Raids on Central American Refugees

This statement was originally delivered on a press call with other religious leaders on January 6, 2016.