Alien Citizen

As we think of all those who are in search of safety in this season of Christmastide, we are reminded that a newborn Jesus was fortunate to have parents who took him as they fled the wrath of Herod, and grateful that the Egyptian border was not closed to them. Sadly, were Jesus, Mary and Joseph to arrive at the U.S. border today, they would meet a very different fate. As part of an ongoing campaign to restore the U.S. asylum system, a group of Presbyterian and Mennonite young people organized a vigil last October in Tucson, AZ to #Save Asylum. We thank the Tucson Borderlands Young Adult Volunteers and the Tucson Mennonite Voluntary Service for organizing the event and permission to share the litany which they wrote together. 

Before the group participated in the liturgy shared below, a member of the Tucson Borderlands YAV read a passage from Leviticus over a megaphone: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Litany for Save Asylum Vigil

We are volunteers living in Tucson. We come from Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, and Manitoba, Canada. When we arrived in these borderlands, we were welcomed, celebrated, and made to feel at home. We see our siblings in transit, forced to wait for months and years on the south side of the U.S. border, human beings who deserve to be celebrated and safe. But our government rejects them. Please join us in this responsive litany, recognizing the welcome that so many of us have found as transplants in this city and praying that that welcome will be made available for all who seek to make their homes here and across the U.S.

When we say, “We pray” please respond, “Hear us, God of mercy.”

(Sam LeBlanc) We know that our government is denying our brothers and sisters on the other side of the wall, a fair and legal chance to plead their cases and seek asylum in the US. We pray:


(YAV) We feel angry and disappointed, knowing that we as a country, and as fellow human beings, could be doing so much better. We pray:

Response: Hear us, God of mercy.

(Andy King) We are sad and grieve that we benefit from a system that continues to oppress people of color, ignoring their voices and stories. We pray:

Response: Hear us, God of mercy.

(Sam LeBlanc) We recognize the ways that our whiteness makes us complicit in upholding this system; we repent our complicity and commit to working for liberation. We pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

(YAV) We feel responsible to name the inhumanity of our racist immigration system and to live into our call, as followers of Christ, to act and speak for justice. We pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

(Andy King) That the dignity and rights of those seeking asylum would be upheld, we pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

(Sam LeBlanc) For protection for migrant families as they seek to catch the dream of a better life, free from violence and fear, we pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

(YAV) For change; for governments with just immigration policies, and a society that welcomes the newcomer, we pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

(Andy King) Finally, that peaceful solutions may be found to the conflict, injustice, and violence that forces people to flee, we pray:

Response: Hear us, God of Mercy

Alison Wood, site coordinator for the Tucson Borderlands YAV program, explained to those gathered at the Vigil: “Title 42 is used to turn back and expel asylum seekers without ever having seen a judge or having their case for asylum considered. The fact that this policy has primarily been used to shut down our southern border to asylum seekers is racism in action. Even as land borders are reopening in November to foreign citizens with COVID vaccines, the Biden administration says that asylum seekers will still not be permitted to claim their legal rights.” Under the application of Title 42 of Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Government has expelled 1.3 migrants between March 2020 and the end of October 2021. 

Additional Worship & Vigil Resources

God of the Traveler Hymn

I Lift My Eyes (Pslam 121)

Vigil to End Title 42 Expulsions

New Years Day reflection

2nd Sunday after Christmas

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