New Immigration Guidance Implements Dangerous and Unfaithful Policies

Department of Homeland Security Memos Strike Terror in the Heart of Our Communities
Laura Peralta-Schulte
February 22, 2017

Throughout the Presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised he would build a wall between Mexico and the United States and deport millions of immigrants living in America.  Now, the Trump administration is setting forth a course to make good on that promise.

On February 20, Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security released two memorandums providing guidance on enforcement of immigration laws and on issues related to border security. The two memorandums, titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” and “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies,” work together to create a mass deportation system that targets virtually any of the 11 million undocumented Americans living across the United States for deportation. The new guidance expands the ability to detain and deport most immigrants and seeks to limit due process protections and seeks to expand a program which compels state and local law enforcement officers to act as agents of federal immigration offices.  Further, the guidance seeks to remove protections for unaccompanied children and asylum seekers who are seeking refuge in the United States.  By prioritizing detention and removal over protection the Trump administration turns its back on our obligation to protect vulnerable people seeking asylum.

This guidance fails to serve the national interest and is intended to create chaos and confusion in our communities. Criminalizing our undocumented sisters and brothers will make our communities less safe, less secure and less peaceful. It is not the faithful way forward. People of faith must stand with immigrants and insist our local and state governments support our immigrant neighbors. We must also meet with our Members of Congress and ask them to oppose efforts to criminalize our communities. A border wall and the deportation infrastructure outlined in the memorandum cannot happen unless Congress provides money to fund the projects. We must demand that Congress rejects the Trump administration’s funding requests for the good of our nation.

If the Trump administration moves forward unchallenged, families will be torn apart and communities will be ruined.  We can and must fight back.  Our faith calls us to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger.  Now is the time to put our pray into action.