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Immigration in the News Today!





The Press Release below was sent to WNPJ by:

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis

Executive Director

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and member of the Dane Sanctuary Coalition

608-513-7121 rabbibonnie@charter.net


On the Day Title 42 is Lifted, National Faith Organizations Tell Biden to Welcome Asylum Seekers

May 11, 2023


Washington DC: National faith organizations from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition are celebrating the lifting of Title 42 after several years of it being misused under a false pretense of public health from both the Trump and Biden administrations; wherein the clear objective of this arcane health code was to expel asylum seekers in an unprecedented and unjust way.

Now as this administration finally lifts Title 42, faith organizations across the country have grave concerns that the policies the Biden administration will implement in its place will have severe consequences, through the recent asylum ban, sending troops to the border, expedited removal, expansion of detention, and the apprehensions outside houses of worship.

Representatives and leaders of the IIC member organizations are sending a strong message consistent with our faith traditions, calling on President Biden to welcome asylum seekers with dignity and reverse these policies that will only cause more harm to migrants seeking safety and make it more difficult for people to claim asylum.

Giovana Oaxaca, Program Director for Migration Policy for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition said: “Tensions are running high with Title 42 finally coming to an end. Yet today’s announcement on an asylum rule that will deny protection to families with children and individuals simply because they traveled through another country and did not first seek protection there, with very few exceptions, will add to the distress of beloved children of God. In addition to navigating their survival, asylum seekers will need to maneuver this complex array of exceptions or try their luck with the CBP One app. The finalization of the asylum rule simply overshadows some of the positive steps taken ahead of this moment, like the establishment of regional processing centers.

Why welcome asylum seekers? Because: “the love of God is for all people”, without exception, regardless of their race, national origin, immigration status, or faith tradition. Lutheran teaching understands the role of government to be to serve the common good and to protect people. To honor the dignity God creates in every person, migrants must be treated with dignity, mercy, fairness, and justice. We recall that Jesus calls us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” Sadly, these dangerous policies across federal and state legislative bodies speak for the increasing intolerance of our migrant siblings. Deterrence destroys our ability to relate to one another. An effective approach to irregular migration recognizes that our policies urgently need to address the reasons people flee their communities and focus on humane solutions.”

“We welcome the end of Title 42, a policy that has forced asylum seekers and refugees — people seeking safety — into inhumane and unsafe conditions,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, CEO of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “But it must not be replaced with an asylum ban and other dangerous policies or legislation. Seeking asylum is a fundamental, protected human right. We have a moral obligation to welcome asylum seekers with a dignified, just, transparent, and timely system to gain legal entry into the United States. The Torah teaches the obligation to extend love and care to people from outside our home society: ‘You shall love this person as yourself, for you were gerim [foreigners] in the land of Egypt.’ (Leviticus 19:34). As Jews, many of our own families fled danger to find refuge in the U.S., and we know from experience that immigration policy can be a matter of life and death.”

“For more than three years, the U.S. government has cast out those desperate for peace and safety. The message to vulnerable communities was clear: your lives aren’t worth protecting.” said Anika Forrest, Legislative Director for Domestic Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “The end of Title 42 comes with jaded relief as the Biden Administration and Congress propose violent policies that would bar the right to asylum and forcibly expel families and children to potential death. Loving thy neighbor means ensuring refuge. We call on policymakers to seek measures that secure the right to asylum, support community-based migration management programs, provide basic services and respite to at-risk populations, and initiate systems and pathways for people to establish stable, prosperous lives.”

“The rights of migrants to move with dignity must be upheld. As the conditions that force people to migrate worsen, the US must recognize its international obligations to provide protection for those who seek it. The Biden administration’s restrictions on accessing these protections impact our global credibility as a welcoming nation while creating impenetrable barriers for migrants who are unable to follow the mandated procedures. As a Quaker organization, the American Friends Service Committee urges the administration to rethink these divisive proposals and instead build compassionate systems that create stronger and more sustainable communities,” said Amy Gottlieb, US Migration Director, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

“We at UUSJ have been unequivocal in our opposition to the use of Title 42 to limit access to asylum seekers. While we are pleased Title 42 is finally ending, we are deeply concerned that the policies announced to replace it are not an acceptable or humane alternative,” said Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director of Unitarian Universalists for Justice. “Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to ‘respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person’ and that includes the belief that ‘no human being is illegal.’ Coupling new pathways toward legal status for too few, while arbitrarily barring other migrants from similar opportunities and also increasing deportations, and also adding new militarization at the border, is not an acceptable trade-off. That is too close to systemic curtailment of legal pathways. We can, and must, do better. The United States can do better.”

“Finally, we see the end of Title 42, but danger lurks. Since President Trump co-opted this section of law and President Biden continued it, the world has become more perilous and its citizens more threatened. Wars have erupted. Economies have cratered. Governments and private industries have plundered. The innocent have been taken hostage by these threats and are seeking refuge and safety in our country where freedom reigns and dreams can become reality,” said Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. “So what is next? What do we do? Mr. President, we welcome these migrants and asylum seekers. We also must streamline and update our asylum and immigration laws and expand the paltry numbers of asylees we welcome. We are relieved that Title 42 is coming to a close. We hope that as America turns this corner, we all remember our common dignity and we see the face of a friend in all we meet and welcome.”

"At LIRS, we recognize that we are one human family and we are called by God to stretch our hands to support people in need. The sunset of Title 42 is long overdue and ends a shameful period in our country's history,” said Jill Marie Bussey, director for public policy at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. "We unequivocally affirm the legal right of individuals to seek protection at our borders and stand in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable, including children and families. We call on the Biden administration to rethink the expanded use of expedited removal and repeal their misguided Asylum Ban. Instead, the administration should provide a humanitarian response that dignifies human life and acknowledges people’s suffering — not one that turns away people fleeing persecution.”

“As an organization rooted in Catholic values, we affirm the words of Pope Francis when he calls for the welcome, protection, promotion and integration of refugees and asylum seekers," said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director of JRS/USA. “While we agree with the termination of Title 42, we are concerned about the new measures being implemented by the Biden Administration that will have an impact on the safety and well-being of asylum seekers. We urge the U.S. government to renew our commitment to asylum seekers by providing pathways to protection that welcome and offer safety for the most vulnerable."

“I am discouraged that after all the advocacy efforts calling for the end of Title 42, the administration has simply replaced it with worse policies that continue to ban the human right to seek asylum, detain more asylum seekers and militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. The harms and suffering migrants endured during the implementation Title 42 cannot be addressed with other restrictive policies like the asylum ban –which makes it almost impossible for any non-Mexican asylum seeker to seek protection from persecution in our nation,” said Elket Rodríguez, CBF Field Personnel and Team Leader of the Advocacy Team for Immigrants and Refugees. “I also do not see the same energy, commitment, and effort from the administration to address the root causes of migration and to roll out the new pathways for refugees to enter the United States, as I see with the implementation of these restrictive anti-immigrant policies. Jesus commands his followers to welcome the strangers. As Christians, we are called to do just that, regardless of the immigration policies of the times. Those who respond to a higher call than politics will continue to welcome and advocate for migrants today and tomorrow, just like yesterday. New policies, same commitment.”

“We are grateful to see the end of Title 42 as we know it, a racist, harmful, and ineffective policy applied by the previous administration and continued in the current administration until now. However, we express our grave concern over the administration post-Title 42 plans to implement an asylum ban and new legal pathways for a select few”, said Rev. Kendal L. McBroom, Director of Civil and Human Rights of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society. “Our Social Principles and Christian faith remind us to welcome the sojourner in our midst as if we were welcoming Christ Jesus into our homes. We call on this administration to develop more humane, inclusive, and just policies that do not pit asylum seekers against one another but rather provide a safe and fair option for those seeking safety and security.”

“We rejoice that the unjust and immoral Title 42 broad expulsion policy is finally ending. After years of faith communities advocating for this moment we should be celebrating, however, we now mourn the introduction of harsh and punitive asylum policies that will prevent the people fleeing persecution from finding needed protections. Today's asylum ban was initiated by the Biden administration, but it follows in the footsteps of what the Trump administration attempted to do. Faith communities continue to lift a prophetic voice against any anti-asylum policy proposed by any administration or Congress,” added Rev. Noel Andersen, National Field Director for Church World Service. “We have a moral obligation to welcome migrants fleeing persecution and will continue to open our congregations to people seeking safety. We ask the Biden administration to rescind these harmful policies and expect the federal government to increase the support needed to create a humane reception infrastructure so that we can welcome people with dignity.”

"Immigration policy has become a political flashpoint and not at all about the migrants and asylum seekers who desperately need humanitarian protection,” said Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “The problem we face as a nation is not the number of migrants on our border. The problem is that we as a nation have forgotten the commitments we made after World War II, to protect people fleeing for their lives by offering asylum. This is our contribution to our shared humanity and peace in the world. We all are better for it. We are a nation that has always thrived on the creative contribution and the hard work of migrants."

“While Franciscan Action Network (FAN) welcomes the expiration, finally, of harmful Title 42, we regret that the Biden administration has not done more to set a more compassionate, just, and orderly direction for U.S. migration policies,” said Sister Marie Lucey, OSF, Associate Director of FAN. “We appreciate ways to expand legal pathways, establish regional processing centers, and expand family unification efforts so people can migrate safely, but the asylum ban steers the country away from being a hospitable, safe haven for asylum seekers. Yes, the administration is under great pressure to secure the border, and yes, the overhaul of our broken immigration system is up to Congress. However, we ask if the administration has really listened to why migrants are desperate to seek safe asylum in the U.S., and to faith-based and other organizations committed to welcoming and assisting families and individuals who seek asylum? Overemphasis on deterrence and enforcement run counter to our belief that migrants are our sisters and brothers, and to this country’s moral value of welcoming people fleeing violence, persecution, oppression, or extreme poverty for which this country bears no little responsibility.”

“Even though Title 42 is ending, Columbans still fear for the safety of migrants because under the Biden administration's new policy they will be subject to further violence and even death in Mexico," said Cynthia Gonzalez, US Advocacy Coordinator for the Missionary Society of St. Columban. "This new asylum rule is yet another policy in a long line that continues to put people in danger. We call on the Biden administration to take a new approach to immigration policy, one founded on welcome and compassion, that respects each migrant's rights to a thriving life."

“Even though Title 42 is ending, the Biden administration is implementing new policies that continue to punish and deport and imprison migrants," said Cristina Coronado Flores, the Director of Migrant Ministries in Ciudad Juárez for the Missionary Society of St. Columban . "The US feels like it can criminalize whoever it wants, but this will not stop people from seeking to enter through other ways. US policies will continue to create conditions where smugglers, organized crime, gangs, and human trafficking grow. We are going to see people disappeared, kidnapped. That is already happening, but it will be to a greater extent.”

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

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Ellie Hutchison Cervantes, MDiv (she/her) Digital Communications Manager | Interfaith Immigration Coalition

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