There is a humanitarian crisis going on in the United States. Unaccompanied, undocumented children from Central America have been apprehended by Border Patrol in record numbers over the last few months. It is still a question mark as to how the U.S. will deal with the issue, but in the meantime, there are some questions that need to be answered regarding the welfare of these children and their families.
Religious leaders throughout the country, from all different faiths, have gathered together to express their concern about the way the United States has been handling deportations up until this point. In a story posted on The Huffington Post, it was reported that in excess of “100 faith leaders and immigration activists participated in a demonstration and were arrested at the White House” in July to speak out against the constant deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Although the protest was undoubtedly meant to be peaceful and productive, it resulted in over 100 individuals being arrested. The event started off with a prayer as well as a press conference in Lafayette Park. After the press conference, the event transitioned into a protest near the White House fence. In part, those demonstrating wanted attention brought to what the Church World Service (CWS) called “inhumane immigration enforcement policies.”
Officers quickly demanded that the protestors leave the White House sidewalk, but they refused. Their refusal led to their arrest and being “charged with blocking passage.” This is according to a statement from CWS.
The group's message is understandable. In a statement released by CWS, there are an estimated 1,100 undocumented immigrants deported every day in the United States. CWS believes that, instead of continuing with the removal of undocumented immigrants, “the government should focus on expanding resources for immigrant families -- and especially for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children apprehended at the border every year."
Some religious leaders spoke of past injustices to help others understand their reasoning. Rabbi Kimelman-Block called upon the Jewish community by stating: “We were once demonized. We were called ‘undesirable.' Laws were passed to keep us and people like us out. Immigration is a fight that our ancestors fought. It is a fight our grandparents and our parents fought. And it is our fight today."
Another well-known leader, Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church, said that "[w]e have come to Washington, DC to tell to President Obama and Congress that kicking out suffering immigrant families and unaccompanied children is not the answer. Immediately stopping the deportations and extending due process to children escaping the violence of drug cartels, gangs and poverty is the just way to respond."
Sponsors of the event included: the United Methodist Church, Church World Service, CASA de Maryland, CASA de Virginia, Bend the Arc, the Unitarian Universalists Association, the United Church of Christ, Sisters of Mercy, Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the PICO National Network, and the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
If you are dealing with immigration matters and are seeking legal counsel, do not hesitate to contact my office and we can schedule an initial consultation.