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In concert with the National Day of Action for Children, faith leaders across traditions join the national outcry against families being separated at the U.S. border, the detention and prosecution of parents travelling with children, and documented acts of abuse by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against vulnerable families.

Contact: Jennifer Amuzie - Interfaith Immigration Coalition, jamuzie [at], 202-867-4567

Members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition call for an end to family separation and for real accountability for endemic abuse and impunity.

“Human dignity is granted to us by our creator and strengthened by our familial bonds,” said Rev. John McCullough, President and CEO of CWS. “The administration’s recent attacks against families are unconscionable and violate the sanctity of family unity. As communities of faith, we condemn the administration’s tactic separating families at the U.S. border, as well as detaining, prosecuting, and deporting parents. We urge the administration and Congress to do everything in their power to immediately stop tearing families apart and end this injustice. Congress should cut funding for harmful immigration enforcement, and instead focus on bringing families together. As we honor our faiths, so too must we honor the family.”*” *

Rebecca Linder Blachly, M.Div, Director of the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations said, “We deplore the separation of families at the border as an instrument of U.S. policy, and our hearts cry out for the unnecessary anguish we are putting young children through in an effort to deter border crossings. Separating children from their parents is both inhumane and ineffective, and is at odds with the priority of families within the Christian tradition. Many of those who present themselves at our borders are fleeing violence and seeking asylum in the U.S. We have an obligation under international law to uphold due process for those claiming asylum. The Episcopal Church strongly believes that U.S. policies must provide dignity and respect to all children of God and we urge Congress and the Administration to reverse these harmful policies that separate families and endanger children.”

Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, the Director of Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, stated, “Our faith teaches us that one of our paramount responsibilities as a Christian is to nurture and protect children. Psalm 127:3 reads, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” It arises the anger of God when societies do not protect their children regardless of their race, nationality, class or gender. The above gospel of Mark says that Jesus became “indignant” (outraged, incensed, annoyed and vexed) when the children were turned away. It breaks the heart of God when God are harmed. The separation of families at the border is an outrage and a travesty, we call on Presbyterians around the country to condemn this practice and push for immigration policy that affirms family unity and human dignity.”

Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers), stated, “This unconscionable policy traumatizes parents and children alike, and expands criminalization of asylum seekers who are seeking refuge. Families belong together. Asylum seekers should not be detained. We strongly urge that Congress use their power to increase oversight of existing immigration and border enforcement and stop funding forcible separation that can do irreparable harm to young families.”

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, United Church of Christ General Minister and President, stated, “It is appalling that this administration doesn’t see the moral depravity inherent in ripping children away from their parents. As a faith leader, I say without equivocation there is nothing remotely humane in this policy. It is beyond sinful – it is evil. I call on all leaders of our church to contact their representatives. Ask them not to abdicate their responsibility. Tell them not to fund this atrocity. Tell them to use their power, their voice, and your vote to repeal this morally repugnant policy immediately.”

“As women of faith, as Catholic sisters, we strongly oppose the Trump administration’s decision to forcibly separate parents from their children in an effort to punish families seeking safety and in the United States. Mothers and fathers are taking tremendous risks to bring their children to safety. These are families fleeing violence and death in their home countries. They have every right to ask for protection in the United States and the Trump administration is legally and morally obligated to give them a fair chance to seek asylum,” Teresa Maya, CCVI, President, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said. “It is impossible to imagine the fear of a child being ripped from the arms of her mother or the pain of a father watching a stranger take his son. It is cruel and inhumane and it must stop. Our faith demands it and our national values require it. We are better than this.”

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, Chair of the United Methodist Immigration Task Force, wrote “The United Methodist Church has long been engaged in the work of welcoming immigrants and refugees to the U.S. Today we share the deep concern about immigrant children who may have been lost through the immigration system. The newer cruel and inhumane immigration tactic of separating children from a parent when the parent is charged with the misdemeanor crime of illegal entry, appears to be yet another tool to inflict harm and discourage immigration to the U.S. These are concerns that must be addressed, but they are best addressed through the complete dismantling of a broken immigration system fueled by racism and xenophobia that makes of children acceptable collateral damage.”

“Children belong with their parents. The Trump Administration’s draconian ‘zero tolerance’ policy mandates the separation and detention of families. This policy violates the sanctity of family. It also fails to address the very real issues causing families to flee their countries, seeking shelter and safety in the United States. Congress must act now to end the immoral practice of family separation at the border. Instead, we must act to protect our children and their parents. Additionally, we need a compassionate solution to address violence driving people to flee their homelands,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): “My heart aches. How is separating and keeping a mother from her child making our country safe? The values of mothers to risk much to show love for their families must be respected–and I call on Congress to hold the administration accountable, to protect the sanctity of family unity, and to end these cruel and immoral policies. We pray to God that our nation might live up to its ideals of being a nation that values the sanctity of human life, and that values human unity.”

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, stated, “American Baptist Home Mission Societies strongly condemns the recent attacks the U.S. administration has imposed on immigrant families. The last few months’ events related to immigrant children and their families make us question the morality of those who govern this country today. Separating vulnerable children from their parents and subjecting them to inhumane conditions is simply not acceptable. We, as members of the faith community, demand these actions stop and both the administration and Congress take steps that reflect compassion and justice, including family reunification.”

And David Bernstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs said, “The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) strongly condemns the Administration’s policy of separating children from their migrant families at the US’s southern border. This policy is cruel and inhumane, and only adds to the suffering of these families, who are often fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries. Children are particularly likely to suffer emotionally and psychologically from separation from their parents….how we treat immigrants, even those who come to this country as migrants or asylum-seekers, should reflect our values of respect and fair treatment for all human beings. We call on the Administration and Congress to put an immediate end to the policy of separating families when they present themselves or are apprehended at the border.”

The administration’s policy of separating families at the border has already led to hundreds of children being ripped from their parents’ care. In a two-week period, 658 children have fallen under this new rule and been separated from their caregivers. In addition, the ACLU has reported devastating instances of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse against children in CBP custody. These practices are a moral outrage which members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition vehemently oppose.

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of more than 50 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants.

Contact: Jennifer Amuzie - Interfaith Immigration Coalition | | 202-867-4567