Immigration and the Family Separation Crisis (Jun 2018)

‘Refugees La Sagrada Familia’ by Kelly Latimore. Used with Permission

In keeping with its commitment to end institutional racism, the Wisconsin Council of Churches calls your attention to the crisis of family separation at the United States border, the escalation of attacks on immigrants, and a sinful system which “put[s] institutional laws and practices above the needs of people.”

Jesus’ ministry and his call for liberation that is found in the launching of his ministry call us to the work of liberation:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release of the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18)

We are one in Christ. Many of the Wisconsin Council of Churches’ member communions have signed on to a Faith Leaders letter responding to the zero tolerance policy of the current federal administration which has resulted in family separation and the internment of children.

The text of that letter and signers are reproduced below.

“Recently, the U.S. Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the well-being of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and well-being of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.”

Signed by:

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez President
Islamic Society of North America

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister & President
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. David Guthrie
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Southern Province

Mr. Glen Guyton
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs 
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Mr. Anwar Khan
President
Islamic Relief USA

The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Northern Province

The Rev. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Director
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Don Poest
Interim General Secretary
The Rev. Eddy Alemán
Candidate for General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Phil Tom
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Mr. Jim Winkler
General Secretary & President
National Council of Churches USA

Senior Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church

#KeepFamiliesTogether

 

In addition to this shared statement, some have addressed the family separation crisis and/or Attorney General Sessions’ comments directly. Here are some of their words:


Action Opportunities

In the coming days, we will share action opportunities for public witness, and specific legislative information which can be a resource for your phone calls to Congress.

 

Resources

In the meantime, if you are looking for resources for theological work with your congregation, or community, these resources are available for download:

 

 

Call for Resources

Have you preached, prayed, or blogged on this topic? Send us your best material! We’re looking for resources to share.

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