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Open letter from the Bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Central America, Belize and Mexico 

Open letter from the Bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Central America, Belize and Mexico 

An open letter from the Bishops Diocesan of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Central America, Belize and Mexico regarding the termination of the DACA, TSP and CAM programs.  UPDATED

(We will provide the letter in Spanish as soon as possible – Cafe Editor)


Statement by Central American and Mexican Episcopal Anglican Bishops on US ending immigration status for millions of DACA, TPS, and unnacompanied minors benefits:

Position of the Diocesan Bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Central America, Belize and Mexico on the termination of the TPS, DACA and CAM programs

The bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Churches of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, North and Southeast Mexico, met in San Salvador, El Salvador, from January 31 to February 2, 2018, to meditate, pray and analyze the evident hardening of the anti-migrant, racist and discriminatory policies adopted by the United States’ authorities, and that are embodied in the termination of the following programs: the Temporary Protected Status (TPS); Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

These policies will affect hundreds of thousands of migrants, for example, people from Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Mexico and other countries.

Faced with this unresolved migration crisis, the diocesan bishops participating in the meeting expressed their position to the administration of the President and to the Congress of the United States of America. Specifically, we urged the search for:
• humanitarian and fair reception for migrants in the United States,
• the reasonable opportunity to identify ways to legalize their stay,
• particularly guarantee mobility and protection for children and adolescents, and
• protection of family unity.

A previously expressed in the same spirit in the letter issued by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church gathered in Phoenix in 2010:

1. We exhort the authorities of the United States to keep in mind that God has always commanded us to love the stranger: “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:34).

2. We pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts and minds of the authorities of the United States of America, so that they understand that migration is to the benefit of everyone.

3. We do not accept the re-victimization of these migrants, who in principle are good people and many have been victims of death threats, of harsh conditions of economic and social vulnerability, while others have been victims of violence from both gangs and agents of the State of their countries of origin.

4. We denounce that ending the adopted migration programs, without a possible alternative solution, violates human dignity and human rights, is discriminatory and racist.

5. We absolutely reject the manipulative assertions of certain politicians pointing to migrants as criminals based solely on their irregular migration status and their belonging to other cultures and races.

6. We ask the political authorities of the United States to refrain from expelling the migrants, since this act would be an affront against God, our churches and divine creation.

7. We give thanks to, and join the struggle of, the Episcopal churches of the United States and other denominations as well as groups of people who defend the human rights of migrants. We invite you to continue working together on regional and interprovincial projects to help resolve the migration crisis.

8. We recognize the support, solidarity and sensitivity of the people of the United States, who have made space in their hearts and consciences for migrants. To these noble and humane people belong the faithful of churches, legislators, senators and politicians sincerely concerned that this situation be regularized, seeking peace and social harmony.

9. We urge our political authorities in Central America, Belize and Mexico to coordinate and work on decent and humane proposals in favor of migrants and then present them in a negotiating dialogue with the United States’ authorities.

10. We demand the political authorities of our countries, regions and the United States, to work together to promote structural changes in their respective countries so that there are conditions of employment, health, education, security, housing, basic services and other conditions so that people abandon the idea of emigrating.

11. In the face of the migration crisis, the united voices of the bishops in this meeting remind all political authorities that it does not matter what was done incorrectly in the past or what was omitted to be done, but how beautiful we can build together hereinafter, cultivating in the present a fraternal dialogue, respectful and dignified among all, to attend to the migratory victims.

12. We must all remember that no one is a migrant, because although we come from one place and go to another, we are always within God’s creation. He has made us stewards of creation so that we live together in harmony, freedom, and with equality for mobility, equity and responsibility.

Finally, we express to our sister and brother migrants: we will continue working for you and we commit ourselves to work in pastoral care for migrants at the local, regional and interprovincial levels.

San Salvador, February 02, 2018.

The Rt. Rev. Juan David Alvarado
Diocese of El Salvador

The Most Reverend Francisco Moreno
Primate of the Province of Mexico

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen
Diocese of Honduras

The Rt. Rev. Julio Murray
Diocese of Panamá y Costa Rica

The Rt. Rev. Philip Wright
Diocese of Belize

The Rt. Rev. Benito Juárez
Diocese of Southeast Mexico

The Rt. Rev. Silvestre Romero
Diocese of Guatemala

image: Immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala who entered the country illegally board a bus after they were released from a family detention center in San Antonio, Texas. (Associated Press)



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Prof Christopher Seitz

Fine. Plug in Canada. Long borders and plenty of agricultural work. They would never allow anyone to overstay a visa. Texas needs construction workers. Can you explain how illegal immigration is a good solution to that problem? All countries monitor illegal immigation. All. In Germany the entire point is legal citizenship so as to shore up poor birthrates. For some reason US citizens like yourself encourage a lawlessness that only perpetuates the problem and benefits no one.Is this a perverse form of american exceptionalism?

Ann Fontaine

US immigration has a long complicated history. At one point “illegal” immigration was encouraged as a way to get cheap labor for our fields and jobs that US citizens would not take. Then there was path developed for people to become citizens. And other plans along the way. We were close to a bipartisan solution at one point but a key senator died. Now we have a mess — it would be easy to fix. But you cannot ignore that many who are here undocumented were at one point encouraged to come. Now there is really no way for them to find a path. The system is too broken and everyone is afraid of amnesty or a path for those who came here as children with no choice – given promises once again which were broken. One is that if you serve in the military you can become a citizen – now ICE is deporting even these veterans. Immigrants have a low rate of crime compared to US citizens (lots of stats about that). I wonder if you know anyone who is suffering – having their families torn apart. And of course there are those who fled the violence in their countries – mainly caused by US companies corrupting the governments to get the wealth – bananas – one example. As to trying to abide by the law to gain entry, a work permit or green card — it is not really possible – 10 year waits are the norm. If you live in an area overrun by drug lords who threaten to kill you and your children — what would you do? Maybe this will help you understand US immigration

Prof Christopher Seitz

Unless I am mistaken the offer being mooted covers three times the number of immigrants undocumented than the previous adminstration. There’s a lot of hypocrisy in the air. How many democrats voted for wall funds in previous adminstrations? My only point is that there is now the possibility to correct the lawless situation that has emerged, as you note, partly by Republicans wanting cheap labor.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Kudos to the church for speaking up and speaking truth. Sometimes US interference and trade policies have created the conditions under which people leave their home countries. Meanwhile, in the US crops are rotting in the field and other industries are understaffed. We don’t have a cogent immigration policy.

It’s immoral to punish people who were brought here as children, or to separates families, or reject veterans.

With all due respect, Professor Seitz, France does not have the long borders that we have or the vast farming and industries that run on seasonal labor that Americans really won’t do (a farmer hired 200 Americans one season and only 1 lasted the summer). Further, much as I love France, it’s racial history is also problematic. When driving from Italy to Nice, France, I saw African men sitting on the Italian side of the border with the French gendarmes keeping them from crossing over. We whites just drove across Europes “open border” without a stop.

Prof Christopher Seitz

I live in France. I cannot live here and no one else can live here without becoming legally cleared to do so. It is extremely hard work and time-consuming. The same is true of the very strict system in Canada where I work part time. If I show up at the airport without proper paperwork, or try to over stay a visa, I have crossed a line that the authorities will not tolerate. I wonder if part of the problem is people in the United States not really knowing very much about what it might mean to try to live in another country. The idea that one could just move to a country and live there for 17 years without any problem is extremely rare if not impossible.

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