In the past few days, the United States has seen a surge of raids targeting immigrant communities by Department of Homeland Security officials. These raids are occurring in homes, places of work, and even near churches. We are especially troubled by the raid outside of a United Methodist Church in Virginia on February 8th where men exiting a hypothermia shelter were confronted the minute they crossed the street off of church grounds. Targeting those seeking sanctuary or services provided by houses of worship will not be tolerated.
The United Methodist Church believes that “migrants should be given due process and access to adequate legal representation. Due to these raids and the ensuing detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart and the migrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
While raids occurred over the past decades under the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations, we are especially concerned about the lack of discretion that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have shown recently as they profile communities – especially Latinx people – and engage in mass arrests.
To the United States government: we call upon you to immediately cease arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.
To people of faith: We affirm that all are created in the image of God and we are called to welcome immigrants into our congregations, provide care for those facing separation from their families, and advocate for policies that uphold the civil and human rights of all migrants.
To all who live in fear of detention, deportation, or separation from your family and community: you are valuable, deserving of opportunity, your contributions to society are important, and we will stand with you to advocate for justice.
“To refuse to welcome migrants to this country – and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media – is complicity to sin.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
This statement can be read online here.
UMC General Board of Church and Society