Religious leaders: Black Immigrants’ Lives Matter – stop deportations

A statement and call to action from Interfaith Immigration Coalition

 

The failure of U.S. immigration judges to give Black asylum-seekers a fair hearing compels us to write this statement.

 

The U.S. Border Patrol’s refusal to even listen to Haitian asylum-seekers’ fears when they arrive at the border compels us to write this statement.

 

The U.S. government’s torture of Cameroonian people in ICE jails, in order to obtain their assent to deportation, compels us to write this statement.

 

The brave protests led by Cameroonian and other refugees against their confinement and treatment in ICE jails compels us to write this statement.

 

The detention of Haitian families with small children at Berks and Karnes compels us to write this statement.

 

The mass deportation of Jamaican, West African, Cameroonian, Congolese, Somali, Kenyan, Trinidadian, and Sudanese men and women–shackled hands to waist to feet for over 24 hours in many cases–compels us to write this statement.

 

The more than twenty deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, carrying entire families including babies, compel us to write this statement.

 

The forced sterilization of Pauline Binam and other women at the Irwin Detention Center compels us to write this statement.

 

The administration’s decision to cancel Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to deport long-term U.S. residents from Haiti, Sudan, and other countries compels us to write this statement.

 

Deportation flights planned to Haiti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Cameroon in the coming weeks, while the global pandemic rages on, compel us to write this statement.

 

Political and gang violence that has become widespread across Haiti in recent years, and which threatens the lives of Haitian families forced to return, compels us to write this statement.

 

The murder of children attending school in Cameroon compels us to write this statement.

 

The Trump administration’s attempt to deport as many people as possible prior to the November 4 presidential elections compels us to write this statement.

 

Black Lives Matter. Black Immigrants’ Lives Matter. Black Asylum Seekers’ Lives Matter. 

 

We mourn the unfathomable loss of precious lives in Cameroon and remind our government: if a country is not safe for children, it is also not safe for teachers and activists.

 

We decry the ramped up deportations of Black men, women, and children by the Trump administration. This policy is atrocious and motivated by racism.

 

People flee danger and come to the United States because they think we will help them. Instead, the U.S. government puts them behind bars and stacks the deck against them in immigration court.

 

People who were deported by the U.S. government are now living in hiding, or being arrested, tortured, and even murdered in the places they originally fled.

 

The message from the Trump administration is clear: We don’t want you here. But they do not speak for us.

 

The message and call of our faith is filled with love, acceptance, and mercy–not fear, exclusion, or cruelty. For the God “who has compassion on you” has promised, “my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” (Isaiah 54:10) Therefore, “let us love one another, for love is from God ….There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:7, 18)

 

Black Lives Matter. Black Immigrants’ Lives Matter. Black Asylum Seekers’ Lives Matter. 

 

We call on every person to act on these words.

 

Every human deserves dignity and the right to build a life in safety. In order to combat the injustices Black immigrants and asylum seekers face every day, we urge Congress to stop detention and deportations, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, cut funds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), demand accountability for the gross abuses by ICE and CBP officials, and extend or redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals of Cameroon, Mauritania, Haiti, and other African and Caribbean countries.

 

All people deserve access to health and safety, not deportation to countries they initially fled because of persecution and violence. The United States must prioritize Black immigrants and asylum seekers’ experiences in policies and legislation to build a more just, humane, and equitable immigration system.

 

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.

Source: interfaithimmigration.org

 

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