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DHS Raids Other Agencies’ Budgets to Fund More Immigrant Detention: Religious Leaders React

Washington, DC (August 27, 2019) – The Trump administration has alerted Congress that it is raiding the budgets of other federal programs, to dedicate even more money toward the mass incarceration of immigrants.

“The administration has made its immigration priorities very clear – more children, families, and refugees behind bars at whatever fiscal or moral cost. We condemn this, and call on Congress to end this pattern and invest in solutions that truly protect our communities,” said Katie Adams, Domestic Policy Advocate for the United Church of Christ and Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) Co-Chair.

Immigration detention has soared in the last two decades. Congress has only authorized funding for the detention of 40,520 immigrants–which is far too much already. Many immigrants are held in remote jails far from lawyers and their families, in a deliberate strategy to make it harder for them to fight their cases in court. The lack of medical care in immigration jail has led to preventable deaths of children and adults, among other human tragedies. (Sources: ICE ‘Detention Management’ StatisticsBuzzfeed NewsThe Marshall ProjectNational Immigrant Justice CenterNational Public RadioACLUDetention Watch NetworkFreedom For Immigrants).

Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister & President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, reacted: “The faith tradition I claim is inspired by Jesus who, from the start, announced his ministry as one which came ‘to proclaim liberty to the captives…(and) to set at liberty those who are oppressed’ (Luke 4:18). Such a calling is one we must likewise take up today–by pushing back against the ever-ballooning numbers of detained immigrants which have grown from 7,000 in 1994 to nearly 55,000, from over 50 countries of origin, now held in nearly 200 detention centers that span every state across the country.” Read more.

Religious Leaders Denounce Trump Administration’s Latest Attack on Immigrant Children

Washington, DC (August 21, 2019) – The Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister & President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada was among Religious organizations and leaders of diverse faiths who are universally outraged at the Trump administration’s latest attempt to harm immigrant children: gutting the Flores settlement agreement, a legal framework that has been in place to protect migrant children for decades. Go here to read Rev. Owens’ and other faith leaders comments.


See here 5 Key Ways we can help the children seeking asylum NOW!!:

*Print out the image at left to  share with your congregation.  Also, use this “4 per page” as a handout for your church members and community:  5 Ways to Help Children on the Border, 4 per page handout

*Please note that congregations and individuals are NOT allowed to send toothbrushes, clothes, or other items directly into the government facilities that have recently received criticism!

*However, be sure to go to: bit.ly/help4fams for more information about specific ways to engage in advocacy, as well as direct support for shelters already assisting migrants.

*Keep giving to Week of Compassion, to strengthen our Disciples’ efforts to support shelters receiving hundreds of new asylum seekers daily.

*Do not neglect to ADVOCATE as advised in the alert.  It is POLICIES that are holding children in unsafe conditions, and our faith voices are desperately needed to weigh in about our values, to help CHANGE them!


Hear the heart of Rev. Terri Hord Owens and other Faith Leaders who Voice Staunch Support for Asylum Seekers, and Urge the President to Uphold Protections for Vulnerable Families and Individuals:

Faith Leaders Respond to Trump Sending of Troops and Asylum Removal 103018FINAL

See this Sermon by Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, based upon Micah 2:12-13, and referring to the movement of Central Americans seeking asylum:Breach Beyond Barriers sermon2, Micah 2 for sharing 102818

What is ASYLUM?  What are America’s current regulations and practices about who can apply? Learn more HERE, from the American Immigration Council.

See These Interfaith Talking Points on Central American Migrants Seeking Asylum Protections:  Migrant Caravan Interfaith Talking Points updated103118

What Can Disciples Do to Help Humanitarian Needs of Asylum Seekers?  Read here for more information about the work of SWGSM and Rev. Feliberto, with our collaborative shelter project, Casa Bugambilia, in Metamoros, Mexico, along the southern border near Brownsville, Texas:  https://www.globalministries.org/a_walking_crisis_in_central_america

Learn More About the Migrant Caravan and Central American Networks of Shelters that Serve Them from our Ministry Partners in Central America.  Read the insights of Ricardo Mayol, who serves with our partners at the Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (CECG):  https://www.globalministries.org/the_migrant_caravan

Please check back often for additional resources about ways you can assist asylum seekers!!


See and share state by state Fact Sheets about Immigrant communities here:


Go to http://bit.ly/FamilyDetentionFloresProtections for our Flores Comments resources & info

Go to http://bit.ly/RIMPublicCharge for our Public Charge Resources resources and info


Please see here our recent statement from RIM’s Director, noted following the administration’s missing of the deadline date for reunification of separated children with their parents.

In partnership with The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) this video and toolkit has been developed. The video urges viewers to take action while their members of Congress are home. This August, let your elected officials know that people of faith stand firmly against family detention and separation.

Help Week of Compassion and our partners continue to reach out to offer emergency assistance to children and families, by donating to Week of Compassion with the designation “Keep Families and Children Together.”


On July 31st, our letter was provided to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a part of the group’s “Hearing on Oversight of Family Separation”.

LISTEN to this recording of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) WEBINAR on “Family Separation and the August Recess” and Use this  GUIDANCE to CALL & VISIT YOUR LEGISLATORS OVER AUGUST RECESS to urge an end to family separation & detention!

Please see here many options for advocacy and action in our INTERFAITH TOOLKIT to END FAMILY SEPARATION & DETENTION!   (Note:  Check back often for action updates!)

Apply for Disciples mini grants to assist families separated from children here.

Photos above are from the gathering on June 30th in Washington, D.C. held before the rally.


  • Read these reflections here from Rev. Terri Hord Owens on the Biblical emphasis on love in Romans 13.
  • Listen to Hearts of Moms Separated from their Children in this video clip.
  • See a Timeline of Rollbacks of Protections of Children in Recent Months.
  • Consider Some Impacts of New Zero Tolerance Policies on Children and Parents.
  • See here this infographic on “6 things everyone who cares about stopping separation of children must know about Trump’s Executive Order.”
  • Read a “Frequently Asked Questions” backgrounder from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the current situation of family separation and the reported situation of lost children here.  Also, our faith partners in ELCA Advocacy put together a blog trying to explaining recent policies that separate children and families.
  • See these Resources with Stories about Fathers and Mothers who are immigrants, Showing the Challenges They Face, and Courage They Demonstrate.
  • Watch and share this video from We Belong Together.
  • Read here the letter that thousands of medical experts, mental health professionals, and researchers sent to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jess Sessions, calling for an end to forced family separation.
  • Learn here and here how the Flores Agreement relates to family detention and family separation throughout U.S. Immigration history, and is not a loophole!
  • Hear the voices of medical professionals in opposition to family separation at the border.


Your faith voice is needed to help stop family separation! Continue to return here for additional opportunities for action, as they develop, for faith communities to support children and parents in detention.

  • Join Terri Hord Owens and other Disciples in expressing our support for children and families being separated, and to urge an end to this family separation policy and family detention ASAP.
  • Go to this googledoc to find information about actions around the U.S. to help End Family Separations!
  • Note that Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries is donating space at their Bayview Campus and helping with coordination for church groups coming down to be part of peaceful protests, accompanying immigrants requesting asylum, and seeking access to detention centers — including the June 28th Protest in Brownsville, Texas.
  • Please see here the new Interfaith Toolkit to End Family Separation and Detention!
  • Sign as Women of Faith, Clergy and Lay Persons:  Click here to call upon DHS Secretary Nielsen to stop separating children from their parents at the border.
  • Sign as ALL Community Members: Click here to sign this petition to ask the administration, through the DHS (Department of Homeland Security), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) to keep families together.
  • Call Members of Congress:  Dial 1-866-940-2439 to connect to your 2 Senators and 1 Representative to let your legislators know you value the ability for families to stay together.  Ask them to work for solutions that help the root causes of violence that are causing parents and children to need to escape, especially from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Ask them to request the administration to stop separating families, and share scriptures that influence your values. Find your officials here.
  • Plan an Action with local clergy and layleaders at your U.S. Senators’ and Representative’s area offices!  See this article for inspiration:  Clergy Hit the Hill to Support Children Being Separated from their Parents. Consider delivering bears, with your message about the importance for parents to be able to comfort and protect their children.
  • Raise your concerns on Social Media: Use images like the ones on this page and click here for sample social media posts.  Make your own posts, and be sure to tweet to RIM at @StanleyRea, and to like and send to our Facebook at: Refugee and Immigration Ministries Disciples Home Missions











These images can be downloaded and use as posters.