During this season of Advent, as we wait for the birth of a poor, refugee child who brings salvation to us all, we remember the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt. We remember that the Holy Family had to flee their home in search of safety for their child. We remember that the Holy Family were refugees who fled an angry Establishment and sought asylum in Egypt. Jesus and his parents are at our southern border during this season of Advent – indeed, they are there this very day. Will we turn them away?
Take action today to ensure your Members of Congress protect families and uphold our moral and legal obligations.
Congress must decide by December 7, 2018, how to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of Fiscal Year 2019 (Sept. 2018-Aug.2019). DHS is where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are located and funded. This week is a critical time for people of faith and conscience to lift up our voices and demand that all people be treated with justice and compassion. Every additional dollar for immigration detention and enforcement allows the Administration to carry out policies that erode the rights and safety of immigrants, refugees, and migrants.
The Administration is illegally banning asylum seekers who enter the United States between ports of entry. Our agents are firing tear gas at shoeless children and mothers who are seeking protection at our border. Our nation is separating and incarcerating families seeking protection. Our agents are keeping people in immigrant detention centers in abusive conditions. We are infringing on the civil and human rights of border communities. We are turning away people who are looking for a safe place to call home. The Administration are trying to expand the construction of border walls and fences.
Jesus explained to his disciples, when they wondered when they had given him food or drink or shelter, that whenever we do these things to “the least of these brothers and sisters,” we do them for Jesus himself. Our government is acting in our stead and, unless we speak out against these brutal policies, with our consent as well.
Let’s should our sisters and brothers what radical hospitality looks like.
Additional Background and Talking Points:
The main thing Congress must get done in the Lame Duck Congressional session is to finish the spending bills for Fiscal Year 2019 (Sept. 2018-Aug. 2019). Most departments (except Labor, HHS, and Defense) are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will expire Dec. 7. Contact Senators and Representatives to tell them, in the spending deal that will be brokered by Dec. 7—
- Deescalate tensions at the US-Mexico Border by reducing the rapid growth (limit/reduce appropriations) of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE
- Tell Congress – No Wall, No Boots, No Beds
- No wall – do not appropriate funds to build the proposed Border Wall
- No Boots – do not appropriate funds for additional agents
- No Beds – do not appropriate funds for more detention
- Require more oversight and accountability for enforcement
- Tell Congress to invest in alternatives to detention, not further incarceration of innocent families. Alternatives to detention can include community-based solutions and re-instituting the Family Case Management Program.
- If you are interested in getting more involved in supporting sisters and brothers who are fleeing violence at home and seeking asylum in the U.S., please visit PDA’s refugee ministry page, or for more specific information regarding Central American immigrants, please visit Families, Children & the U.S./Mexico Border Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). For details regarding specific efforts Presbyterians are currently engaged in—and how you or your congregation can get more directly involved—are detailed in PDA’s blog post.
- The PC(USA) Office of Immigration Issues has a number of resources, including worship resources for Advent, on their website.
- The PC(USA) is a member of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, which has great resources all the breadth of immigration issues facing our nation.
- The Administration has also proposed a federal rule change that will make it much harder for individuals to gain permanent legal status, i.e. green cards. To learn more about Public Charge, click here.