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Five Things for the CRCNA to Remember and Advocate for During Today’s “Border Crisis” and Budget Negotiations

It has been a chaotic couple months for our government and the entire U.S. As negotiations continue for the federal government to be funded beyond February 15, we as people of faith must hold fast to that which we know to be true about our identity and calling.

The synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America has long advocated for a fair and just immigration system that honors the inherent dignity of immigrants and refugees. With this in mind, we as the Church uphold these five important points to remember and advocate for in this time of “border crisis” and budget negotiations.

1. We can have a secure border and humane border policy.

“That synod, mindful of the need for governments to create and enforce laws that protect the security and integrity of a given nation’s borders, nevertheless encourage congregations and church members to support the need for comprehensive immigration reform…”

We will not choose between two polarities (“open borders” or “build a wall”). Instead, we encourage Congress to focus on defining which smart improvements at the border (e.g. effective technology, highly-trained personnel, and employing new physical barriers only as necessary) would support the goals of safety and order. We also encourage Congress to ensure that people experience the U.S. immigration process -- whether at the border or elsewhere -- as fair, orderly, swift, and most importantly, humane.

2. We can protect the asylum-seeking process, which is legal.

“That synod encourage congregations and their individual members to speak out against, and seek to reform, laws and practices concerning the treatment of immigrants that appear to be unduly harsh or unjust.”

People fleeing persecution must have a clear, accessible, and safe way to attempt to gain safe refuge in the United States. There is no such thing as an “illegal asylum-seeker.” We remind Congress that it is possible to respond to an increase in asylum-seekers by providing more resources to keep them safe and hear their claims in a timely and fair way, rather than invest in ways to unjustly deter them from seeking safety in the U.S.

3. We can invest in aid, development, and just solutions to migrations’ root causes.

“That synod encourage churches to… Prayerful study and discussion of issues related to the causes that motivate people to immigrate to other lands so as to deepen understanding of the circumstances under which many people live.”

Leaving one’s home is never a flippant decision; most people who choose to migrate would remain in their countries of origin if they felt they could. It is in the best interest of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and the United States for life in the Northern Triangle to be safe and sustainable. We remind Congress that a focus solely on deterring migration is not enough; we must also invest in life-honoring solutions to the violence, economic stagnation, and lack of resources that drive people to seek life in a new place.

4. We can continue to protect children.

“Scripture calls us to be mindful of the plight of aliens and strangers, offering compassion and love in Christ’s name to those who find themselves marginalized and in need.”

Ending protections for migrant children, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and the Flores Settlement Agreement, and gutting the provisions of the Central American Minors program will not make anyone safer, especially vulnerable children. Protecting children is a non-negotiable moral imperative. We encourage Congress to continue strong oversight of immigration enforcement agencies and to support legislation that ensures children are treated fairly and humanely.

5. We can find permanent solutions for Dreamers and TPS recipients.

“That synod, mindful of the need for governments to create and enforce laws that protect the security and integrity of a given nation’s borders, nevertheless encourage congregations and church members to support the need for comprehensive immigration reform in ways that will reduce the number of people without status and/or non-status workers and provide increased opportunities for immigrants to gain legal status within the nation.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Dreamers are Americans in every way except the piece of paper that defines their status, and most Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients have put down deep roots in the U.S. They are going to school, working jobs, paying taxes, and making their communities stronger and more prosperous. We encourage Congress and the Administration to enact permanent solutions for Dreamers and DACA and TPS recipients, and to not eliminate their protections in negotiations to fund the federal government.

Members of Congress need to hear from the faith community about these convictions. Using our action alert, urge your Congressperson to ensure that:

  • funding for border security will also protect the safety of and access to legal protections for immigrants and asylum-seekers; it is harmful and disingenuous to only be funding and talking about a border wall;
  • and that the truth is told about immigrants: immigrants are a blessing to our economy, public safety, and overall stability in the U.S. Changing our immigration system should reflect this truth by increasing paths to legal immigration, not creating harmful, inhumane deterrents.

Take action today


[Photo by Robert Hickerson on Unsplash]

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