Blessing Not Burden | June 01, 2018
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Concerns and Confusion Over #WhereAreTheChildren

In April 2018 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that 1,475 of 7,635 “unaccompanied minors”—immigrant children who cross the border without their parents—whom they had placed with sponsors no longer had a confirmed location. This has sparked outcries among concerned citizens, who are raising awareness using the hashtag #WhereAreTheChildren. But the children may not necessarily be at risk—it is likely that some sponsors, especially people who are undocumented, did not want to answer a telephone call from the federal government. This situation underscores why the recently announced “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border is problematic. Under this policy, any adult caught entering the U.S. irregularly—even an individual seeking asylum—is criminally charged and separated from his or her children. These children are then considered “unaccompanied minors” and transferred to HHS for placement with sponsors or other caretakers, including (potentially on a large scale) at military bases. More than 600 families have been separated since this zero tolerance policy was implemented on May 7th. The U.S. has greatly reduced its refugee and asylum admissions, even as the danger and fear of persecution in Central America has increased.

For more information about the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy and  family separation, read this article from Matt Soerens from World Relief: What You Need To Know About Families Being Separated At the Border.

Take Action!

Today is a national day of action to join together to raise our voices for family unity. Send a message to the Department of Justice and your members of Congress to urge them to stand against separating families at the border!

Scripture is clear: those who are vulnerable, who are 'strangers,' are often used by God to bring great blessings. We, everyday, recognize those blessings in the United States. But this 'zero tolerance' policy of separating parents from children is so harmful and heartless, that it demands a clear and immediate outcry from all people of faith. The United States should show compassion to those who have been the victims of trauma, not inflict it needlessly upon children and parents ourselves. The Christian Reformed Church encourages its members to "speak out against and seek to reform laws and practices concerning the treatment of immigrants that appear to be unduly harsh or unjust," and so we call on Congress to immediately act, calling into question this inhumane practice of separating families.

Join Our Team!

Are you passionate about the church being informed about immigration and engaged in advocacy? You can be an important part of this work through applying to be an immigration regional organizer! We’re partnering with the Reformed Church in American to work with individuals in specific regions to develop relationships with area congregations to gain a deeper understanding of immigration through education, worship, advocacy, and local connections. A stipend is offered for this temporary, part-time position. Consider applying or sharing this announcement with individuals who may be interested.

If you are located in the following regions, learn more and apply here: Denver, Chicago, Pella,
NW Iowa, California

Praying for Families

When witnessing deep injustice, we do not always know how to pray. Lean on these words as we together lift up immigrant families in desperate situations: God, for so many people facing an impossible decision—to stay home and face violence and the threat of death, or to make the dangerous journey north and face the threat of violence and separation from children—we lift prayers for wisdom. We pray for compassionate, human-centered policies. We pray for accountability when leaders fail to meet the standards we read about in Scripture—that government officials are put into place in order to do good.

Hidden Horrors of “Zero Tolerance”

Read this article for a first hand account of the confusion and devastation in a Texas immigration court since the implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy: “The judge tried to assume his crisp air. But he seemed overwhelmed, with the parents’ worry and with suspicion that the government was misrepresenting to him what was really happening to the children. “The way it’s supposed to work,” he told the parents, “you’re going to be sent to a camp where your child will be allowed to join you. That’s my understanding of how it’s supposed to work.” “They told me they were going to take her away,” a mother interjected about her young daughter. “Well, let’s hope they don’t,” said Morgan. “You and your daughter, you should be joined together.” And then, for many seconds, he was silent.” Continue reading »

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day (June 20) is an opportunity to recognize the blessings of refugees in our communities and to educate ourselves about the growing global refugee crisis. How are we as a church - the body of Christ - to respond? We invite you and your congregation to recognize #WorldRefugeeDay throughout the month of June. Check out our World Refugee Day Toolkit for ideas about how to participate. Whether it be saying a prayer during Sunday worship, offering advocacy letters to Congress, or hosting a welcome event, you’ll find something in this toolkit that works for your congregation. View and download toolkit here »

In Case You Missed It

  • Are you a recent college graduate who is passionate about the intersections of social justice, faith, and policy? You can still apply to be the Mobilizing and Advocacy Fellow with the Office of Social Justice! View the job description and apply here.