By Jen Smyers, associate director for Immigration and Refugee Policy with Church World Service.
CWS (July 30, 2014) — Our country has an obligation — moral and legal — to provide protection to these children, and to not deport them back to gangs and unspeakable violence. The 2008 trafficking law exists for this very purpose. But right now, Congress is trying to rollback important protections in this law to “deport these children more quickly.” One piece of legislation, the ill-labeled “HUMANE” Act sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, rips out protections specifically for children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — the very children who need these protections as they flee these countries with the highest rate of violence in the region. This is not the answer. And this cannot be the American response. It is unconscionable that Congress would roll back a law because more children are in need of its protection. Read more.
July 7, 2014 – Immigration advocates are urging President Obama to come up with another solution beyond sending young children back into their home countries. The demonstration comes as an influx of Central American children are crossing into the United States. (Theresa Poulson / The Washington Post) Visit link here.
May 7, 2014 –The detention bed quota is an unprecedented policy – no other law enforcement agency operates on a quota system. Immigration detention is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, with ICE’s detention budget nearing 2 billion dollars for Fiscal Year 2014. During a time of fiscal responsibility, it is unacceptable to be spending billions of dollars to needlessly detain immigrants in an inhumane system that is breaking apart families and communities. Meanwhile, for-profit prisons such as GEO and CCA lobby for such legislation to make money off of detaining immigrants and breaking up families. Go here to see what you can do to help end the bed quota. For additional background information visit.
May 5, 2014 — The number of deportations under the Obama Administration has now reached more than 2 MILLION. Since January, faith groups (including Disciples) have engaged in rallies, vigils, and civil disobedience actions to ask the President and DHS to end deportations now–especially as we await a legislative fix to immigration reform. On May 5, our colleagues at Interfaith Immigration Coalition in DC held a webinar which chronicled many possible ways of faith engagement in these issues. Access the webinar training, audio, and Letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson of the DHS to learn more, and to consider how you also might act to help families stay together!! Let us know of your plans and how we can support you, by contacting: 202-957-7826, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington, D.C. (February 17, 2014) — This President’s Day, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea will participate in a rally as more than two dozen faith leaders, immigrants and supporters are planning to be arrested in front of the White House while praying for the President to pick up his pen and stop deportations.
Stanley-Rea asks for your prayerful support and added, “My sacred scriptures remind me: ‘When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger…but they shall be as the citizen among you.” (Leviticus 19:33-34 (To treat immigrants with justice in these ways means to give vulnerable people more attention in immigration debates than we give to partisan politics. I am getting arrested this day to urge the President to do what he is able to do on Presidents’ Day and every day — to give moral leadership by offering administrative relief to end suffering of thousands, ensure family safety, and protest the 5.5 million children in our nation within mixed status families from the threat of being ripped apart from their families at any time. View Prayerful Rally and Civil Disobedience, Why I am Getting Arrested on President’s Day, Scripture Links & Background Guide and Talking Points.