Church Leaders Address Immigration

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Leaders across the Episcopal Church are speaking up in criticism of immigration policies and practices, especially those that separate children from their parents on the southern border.

The Rt. Rev. Don Johnson of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee shared a letter written by the Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.

In this letter, Bishop Breidenthal writes:

“There is no question that the forced separation of families at our borders can be a powerful disincentive to entry. But this strategy damages our own commitment as a nation to the value of family life. Worse yet, it takes advantage of a value that transcends national interest. The bond that unites parent to child is universal. To honor that bond is to rebuild the unity of the human race from the ground up.”

Following up to Bishop Breidenthal’s remarks, Bishop Johnson continues:

“The action of this administration with regard to the separation of children from their parents is unconscionable, not in keeping with the spirit that has guided our country’s foundational values from the beginning and is not aligned with the Christian values we cite but are not living out in this day and time.”

Both bishops urge the people of their dioceses to contact their representatives.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, appeared with other faith leaders on AM Joy over the weekend. Bishop Curry stated clearly that the policy of separating children from their parents is “unChristian” and “not consistent with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Other leaders in the Episcopal Church are speaking out on this issue. As the Episcopal Cafe has already shared, the Rt. Rev. David Rice of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin shared an open letter through the Fresno Bee.

[A round-up of bishops’ statements as they are received may be found here.]

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Professor Christopher Seitz
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Professor Christopher Seitz

1. Are the HHS installations viewed by the kids that are put there a major step up from conditions at home? I ask in all honesty. Let us not forget how terrible conditions are at home, and for that matter, for kids in our own struggling towns
2. No one who goes to a bona fide porte d'acceuil --as opposed to entering -- by design -- uncontrolled soi disant illegal territory -- will experience bona fide family separation; I believe there are more than 25 legal processing entry points
3. what percentage of the displaced from adults are kids not with biological parents? Is the figure well above 50%? The incentive for adults to gain entry is huge and also exploitative of kids.

The temptation to demagogue this issue may hurt kids more than adults, no matter what party one wants belong to, to erase the other.

Lord have mercy, and incline our hearts to keep Thy law. Thy law.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

Presbyter Christopher, how many children do you know who would opt to be parted from their parents, so long as the family is loving and supportive, not abusive or neglectful, no matter how bad-off the environment?

In your youth, would you have liked being parted from your parents, having no contact with them, and not knowing their whereabouts, while in the custody of absolute strangers in an unfamiliar environment?

Why must the children be separated from their parents, rather than interned together with them?

How many "kids in our struggling towns" (in France or the United States?) would relish living in chain-link enclosures or tent cities?

"Lord, have mercy, and incline our hearts to keep Thy law. Thy law." Yes, Lord, and give us consciences that recognize Thy law and human law are not always one and the same. As that bit from Romans 13 not cited from the DOJ podium says: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law" (Verse 10).

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Professor Christopher Seitz
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Professor Christopher Seitz

I welcome your response to my questions. Facts are involved. I have heard that a great number of these cases are not biological children. Also, why not go to the legally designated places and avoid the entire problem? As for cages as permanent dwellings, these obtained during Obama. They have been replaced.

I go through complex immigration control both in FRance where I live and in Toronto where I work. Neither nation tolerates this.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

HHS indicates of 12,000 kids processed, 10,000 are trafficked/abandoned, and only 2000 come with biological parents. It spends 34,000 per child for housing, hot meals, recreation, instruction, and health care, more than US kids in low income families.

Who drives this 10,000 figure. Drug traffickers, receiving payment. Fully 1/3 of violent gang members emerge from this statistic. Others end up in terrible working conditions in low pay incentivizing.

I have visited Dachau. To hear CNN speak of marching kids off to showers just as Nazis did to Jews, is shameful. It deprives history of any meaning. Concentration camps are realities, with real torture, medical experimentation of the most demented invention, real gas chambers, run by madmen, stacked up bodies without any flesh and starved and worked to death before extermination.

I wish the problem would be addressed by Congress rather than using it as an opportunity to throw around concentration camp language.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

"Facts are involved. I have heard..." So which is it, Presbyter Christopher? Facts or hearsay? The first is admissible in court, the second isn't. Please cite the sources of the statistics you cite, so the people of God can evaluate the sources and draw their own conclusions. As for the "biological parents" red herring (are adoptive parents disqualified?), should DNA testing of the quarantined be enforced? And as for "concentration camp talk" being so "shameful" and "offensive," the definition of "concentration camp" is "a camp where persons (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined." Places like Dachau didn't start as loci of torture, gas chambers and murder. The rationale given at their birth was "simple law and order and national security," and plenty of heads nodded in agreement over their necessity at the time. A bone-chilling lesson to learn from the past, indeed.

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Professor Christopher Seitz
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Professor Christopher Seitz

Nice try. Dachau at its most benign was as far as the east is from the west compared to the HHS installations. And who got rid of the shared housing? Left wing activists and judges.

The statistics are as stated. Drug cartels make the bulk of their drug trade money trafficking kids. Only 15% of the 'family units' involve biological children. Adoptive parents--red herring if ever there was one...risible.

Thank God we will see an end to the ranting and raging without any factual basis. Most wise liberals know this problem has been festering since the Foals case. Rapid process legal units, dna testing, and an end to all the non-productive rhetoric. Concentration camp canard, off to the showers like tortured Jews, sheep to the slaughter, death camps...

The death dealing is drug cartel encouragement to cross miles of desert with assurances all will be well.

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Professor Christopher Seitz
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Professor Christopher Seitz

And let's be very clear. You are the one who claims this is about dividing families, totally about parents from THEIR children. Not me. I say that is false and a dramatisation of like nature as Concentration Camp talk. So prove it. Show where the majority, or as you hold, all of this is about parents and their children. Phone HHS. Ask how it is that hot meals, health care, instruction, recreation is false reporting; ask about the trafficking victims' percentage. You sound off and double-down. So prove it. Until then it sits right alongside the offensive talk comparing millions of death camp victims and their loved ones to an exploitation by drug cartels and desperate poverty gambits. Over to you Mr GO.

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Douglas A Desper
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Douglas A Desper

Where were these Church voices during the Obama Administration? It's almost as though CNN, MSNBC, and others play and the liberal Church dances to their tune. Trump's fingerprints are not on the immigration mess as much as those who created it by legislation years ago. Now we'll see who really wants to end the child separation and work towards the comprehensive repair.

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Member

With all due respect, Brother Douglas, the churches were speaking during the Obama Administration, and well before. You may remember that President George W. Bush offered revisions to our immigration laws, including a revised guest worker program and means of bringing under law those of questionable status. His plan was denied by more conservative members of his own party.

In the meantime, it is well documented that separating families is not in law, but is a recent innovation in policy. Failure to provide asylum representatives and asylum judges is not in law but in policy. Failure to fund immigration judges (a separate category) is not in law but in policy.

The Episcopal Church has spoken on some aspect of this in every General Convention back to 1985, when President Reagan led the last extensive reform. There were eight resolutions on 2015 alone, clearly reflecting concerns under the Obama Administration's watch (https://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_search.pl).

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Tiffany Arnett
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Tiffany Arnett

Our baptismal covenant includes a profession to seek and serve Christ in ALL persons loving our neighbor as ourselves and to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of EVERY human being.
When people are fleeing persecution or searching for a better life for their children because they have nothing;they come from nothing, with nothing but each other, how and why is there any response but LOVE. Love is the way.

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William J Atkinson
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William J Atkinson

Let’s stop talking and start acting ! Please call all Christians to go to our southern border to sit-in in peaceful protest of Trump policy on July 4th! Have all Dioceses send bus loads of Episcopalians to link arms around these children’s prisons. Let’s try to apologize for our past support of slavery in the nation by acting differently now!

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