Arizona Faith Network stands in solidarity with people of faith and moral strength all across the nation against the unconscionable treatment of migrant children by the current administration in separating children from their parents. To date, over 2,300 acts of “cruelty by separation” have been committed against migrant children along the U.S. southern border. Although we strongly agree to the need for secure borders, we know that as Americans, we are better than this …. We are a nation that espouses family values and we do everything we can to keep children from harm.
Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not,
For of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14
Additionally we stand against the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. When people enter this country seeking asylum, they have not crossed the border illegally, they have not committed a crime. They are fleeing from persecution in their home land, yet once they arrive here, they are detained sometimes for years while they wait for a judge to settle their case.
Separation of children from their parents is not a family value. It is harmful to children, no matter the race, ethnicity, age or country of origin. The immediate impacts are very clear—children crying, anxiety setting in, fear taking its toll. But the long-term impacts are even worse—the possibility that the separation will be permanent due to parents not being able to find their children in the morass of immigration procedures, the loss of family connectedness, the potential for children to end up in situations worse than what they were fleeing from, and more.
Arizona Faith Network joins in the nationwide call from faith leaders and others for this administration to end the policy of family separation NOW. Yes, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does have discretion in how they will prosecute and treat the families of people crossing the border without proper documentation! This is not a partisan issue, it is an issue of basic human rights and the rights of children. This senseless policy must end now.
For the LORD your God... executes justice for the orphan and widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. –Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (NRSV)
Faith communities and people of good will across the country are standing ready to help. Or, if migrants must be detained, the administration should operate with some semblance of humanity like its predecessors and re-open family detention centers. The voices against the separation of children from their families will not be silenced until the mistreatment of migrant children ends. There are better options. We hold better values. We urge people of faith across this nation to continue to speak out, stand up and show your support for migrants regardless of the nation of origin. Who knows except the next great one for the ages may be among them?
And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, "Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?" An-Nisa, Verse 75