Webinar on Expanding the Sanctuary Movement – Wednesday, March 1 @ 3:30PM
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) stands firmly with undocumented immigrants and their families in opposition to the wave of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in migrant communities and the threats posed by the new Department of Homeland Security memos that pave the way for mass deportation. Click HERE to register for a Webinar on expanding the Sanctuary Movement next Wednesday, March 1!
As a faith community called to “seek justice and defend the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17), we are deeply disturbed by these actions. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has affirmed its support for immigrants many times. The 221st General Assembly (2014) affirmed the formation of the Presbyterian Immigrant Defense Initiative, a campaign to “empower Presbyterians to work to change policies and practices that infringe on the human and civil rights of immigrants in our communities including immigrant detention, streamlined deportation, and the executing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by local law enforcement.”
According to government officials, a series of raids over the past weeks led to the arrests of at least 683 undocumented community members and targeted people who faced criminal charges. These actions did not represent a major change from Obama administration policies. But immigrants, their advocates and lawyers say that many people without criminal records also were taken, spreading fear in cities and counties that are home to many foreign-born people. The intention to focus on immigrants with criminal convictions has the impact of criminalizing the entire immigrant community. Undocumented immigrants may have an immigration related conviction or they may have been targeted by a policing system that is racially biased and unnecessarily focused on low-income people of color. Even more troubling is the administration’s guidelines that grant law enforcement agencies broad latitude about whom to arrest and approval to target a broad portion of the undocumented population for deportation.
We would like to lift up in prayer the arrest and detention of DACA recipient, or “DREAMer,” Daniel Ramirez. Beneficiaries of the DACA program like Daniel have been promised a two-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit, paid nearly $500 in fees every two years, passed a background check and met a number of other requirements. Within the faith community, we believe in transformation and forgiveness. Even if someone has made a past mistake we do not believe that they should be deported and separated from their family. Daniel is a father of a 3 year old, is falsely accused of being a gang member, and belongs with his family in Seattle. Sign HERE to petition for his release.
One of the most powerful ways churches can act in solidarity in this moment is to join the Sanctuary Movement. To learn more about the process of providing sanctuary, please join the OPW for a webinar on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:30 pm EST. Click HERE to register, and share this invitation widely! If you can’t attend the webinar but would like to be involved, click HERE for a list of resources and background on the Sanctuary Movement.
In Faith We Share,
Rev. Jimmie Hawkins