FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2022
CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar | BilalA@wrcommission.org |
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Faith Leaders Support the End of Title 42 and Are Ready to Welcome
Listen to the recording here.
Washington – Earlier today the #WelcomeWithDignity campaign held a press call with faith leaders welcoming the Biden administration’s first step towards restoring asylum by ending Title 42. Undeterred by some lawmakers’ attempts to stop President Biden from ending the policy, the faith leaders expressed their readiness to work with the federal government to welcome asylum seekers who will finally have their chance to apply for asylum once the policy is repealed on May 23rd.
The faith leaders from California, Texas, and Arizona represent organizations and faith communities working directly with people seeking asylum who are subjected to Title 42.
“On this Holy Thursday, we remember in a particular way that even and especially in difficult moments we are invited to be a community around the same table. I’m inviting you to trust in the grace of migrants to be co-creators of this community. I’m inviting you to trust in people of good will at the border and in the US to respond to God’s call to welcome. And most of all I’m inviting you to trust that in this work of welcome and hospitality we can create a society that is better for all of us,” said Joanna Williams, Executive Director of Kino Border Initiative.
“We welcome the Biden Administration’s promise to end the controversial Title 42 policy. We in the Reform Jewish faith community, through the work of our congregations, are ready to work with the federal government in welcoming asylum seekers into this country, who have been cruelly and unfairly denied their opportunity at freedom and justice. Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will gather round tables to celebrate the holiday of Passover. As we begin the ritual, we recite: This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry – let them come and eat. All who are needy – let them come and celebrate the Passover with us. May those words not be empty,” said Rabbi Esther L. Lederman, Union for Reform Judaism
Said Elket Rodriguez, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel serving at the U.S.-Mexico border: “I oppose Title 42 from a moral standpoint as an unwelcoming device that transgresses my Christian faith. And from a policy perspective, it does not make any sense or serve any purposes. In fact, Title 42 is currently an operational stumbling block for Customs and Border Patrol. More than 30 percent of the migrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in February and March 2022 were repeat crossers who were previously expelled through Title 42.
In this Holy Week, as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us resurrect a new era of welcoming in our country. That is the best way we can honor the spirit of Jesus’s sacrifice: to see Him in the stranger.”
“As Christians now in the embrace of Holy Week, we are moved by the model of healing leadership, humble respect, suffering in solidarity, and resistance to threats and trauma imposed by the powerful that was modelled by Jesus in events commemorated in these sacred days,” said Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries. “Recalling each one, we renew our commitment to engage in sacred acts ourselves—as we actively welcome and restore asylum for migrants who have experienced great loss, stand in solidarity against efforts to exclude asylum seekers from protections, and continue to push back against any powers that seek to extend the restrictions and traumas caused by Title 42. Our arms and hearts are ready to robustly welcome–in our borderlands, in our neighborhoods near Washington, DC, and throughout our nation!”
“The Bible demands that we welcome the stranger 36 times. It is a paramount commandment given by God over and over so that we may hear the call to be God’s partners in providing sanctuary to those seeking safety, shelter, and a better life,” said Rabbi Devorah Marcus of Temple Emanu-El in San Diego. “We have heard people use the excuse that we are not prepared to welcome asylum seekers and refugees because of the dismantling of our welcoming infrastructure during the previous administration. This is a sad excuse. We are ready and we are waiting. In our greatest moments, we are a nation that says “Yes We Can!” This racist policy has caused untold trauma on God’s children waiting beyond the wall for the United States to uphold its own laws, to uphold its own promises, and to fulfill its own moral obligations to our history, our legacy, our foundational values, and our responsibility as a global leader of morality and decency. May we fulfill our obligations as God’s partners and welcome the stranger who is, in actuality, our sister and our brother, because they too are a beloved of God.”
Rev. Noel Andersen, Director of Grassroots Organizing for Church World Service, said: “During this time of Holy Week, it is particularly important to express our values of love and welcome to our neighbors. This is represented by our ongoing advocacy to lift Title 42, a morally misguided Trump policy that was never actually about public health, but a tactic to block asylum in an unconstitutional way. The Church World Service national network of denominations and faith communities that represents millions of people of faith stand ready to welcome asylum seekers and those seeking safety. We are outraged by legislative proposals that would make Title 42 almost impossible to rescind and call on all Members of Congress to vote against such provisions. All refugees and asylum seekers deserve to be welcomed with dignity and without discrimination.”
A recording of the call is available here.
The Welcome with Dignity Campaign is composed of more than 95 national and regional organizations committed to transforming the way the United States receives and protects people forced to flee their homes to ensure they are treated humanely and fairly. To learn more and join our campaign visit: welcomewithdignity.org
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm