Episcopal Church to host vigil in DC to condemn Trump’s immigration policies separating families

By Lynette Wilson
Posted Jun 20, 2018

Akemi Vargas, 8, cries as she talks about being separated from her father during an immigration family separation protest in front of the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. District Courthouse in Phoenix on June 18. Child welfare agencies across the U.S. make wrenching decisions every day to separate children from their parents, but those agencies have ways of minimizing the trauma that aren’t being employed by the Trump administration at the Mexican border. Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP

[Episcopal News Service] The U.S. government is holding the youngest children – babies and toddlers – separated from their families in “tender age” shelters in south Texas. In these shelters, some children are kept in chain-link cages, their screams and cries for their parents a cacophony of terror.

On June 20, under intense political pressure, President Donald J. Trump reversed his stance and signed an order ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. The new order will now keep families together in federal custody while they await prosecution for illegal border crossings. However, that might violate court orders that bar the government from keeping children in family detention centers for more than 20 days and that require children to be housed in the least-restrictive setting possible.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has separated 2,342 children from 2,206 parents at the U.S.-Mexico border between May 5 and June 9, according to a June 19 report on the online news site Vox. That statistic follows an announcement last week by the Department of Homeland Security that 1,995 children had been separated from their parents from April 19 to May 31. The policy was meant to deter other families – many fleeing violence in Central America – from attempting to request asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

On June 21, the summer solstice, the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations will hold a 12-hour prayer vigil for family unity from 9 a.m. until sunset in its chapel on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to call further attention to the Trump administration’s policy. A virtual vigil will be streamed live on Facebook from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time.

“We are holding this vigil to condemn family separation and to pray for all parents and children who are currently being detained. While tomorrow we will be focused on the recent separations of families at the border, we must also remember the millions of families who have been torn apart by violence and persecution in the global refugee crisis,” said Rebecca Linder Blachly, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations. “We chose to hold this vigil on June 21 – the longest day of the year – because every day that family members are separated is too long. We will join together with interfaith partners to pray together for an end to this crisis, and to ask all governments to develop humane policies towards migrants.

“We continue to encourage Episcopalians and all people of faith to call on the U.S. Congress to end harsh and harmful immigration policies and to pass bipartisan, comprehensive reform that recognizes the dignity of every person.”

To join the Episcopal Public Policy Network, click here.

Trump made curbing immigration a centerpiece of his campaign and his administration. Within days of taking office, Trump signed three executive orders cutting funding to so-called sanctuary cities, calling for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and suspending the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

In defense of his separation policy, in a June 19 speech to the National Federation of Independent Business, Trump said: “When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away.”

In anticipation of the executive order, New York Bishop Andrew M.L. Dietsche issued the following statement: “I pray that by the time this letter reaches you the hundreds and hundreds of children, including small babies, who have been taken by force from their parents and are currently detained in this country will be returning to their families. People across the political spectrum and faith communities in America are joining in heartbroken and outraged opposition to what may well be the cruelest and least defensible policy decision by an American president and administration in our memory.

“The recordings and photographs of the children are almost impossible for any caring person to apprehend. I left New York late last week to baptize my youngest grandchild, and as we watched my daughter’s happy, carefree children in their safe home she turned to me and said, ‘I can’t follow this news story. I can’t even open the articles.’ Because it does violence to our eyes and ears, and assault and battery to our hearts. It strikes terror. And it is racist. And it is systematic child abuse,” Dietsche said.

In a statement from the Diocese of West Texas, Bishop David Reed and Bishop Suffragan Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, wrote: “We, like many of you, have watched and read with increasing dismay and frustration the federal government’s use of family separation as a blunt instrument of immigration policy along our border with Mexico. We have been embarrassed and angered to see our political leaders point fingers at each other while children and their mothers (it’s almost always mothers) are taken away from each other. We can imagine little that could be more heart-breaking or traumatizing—for children or parents—than to be forcibly separated with no awareness of when, or if, we would see one another again.”

The June 21 vigil follows on the annual international observance of World Refugee Day June 20, which is intended to raise awareness to the violence and persecution of refugees worldwide.

Worldwide, an unprecedented 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes; 24.5 million of them are refugees, half younger than 18. For more than a century, the Episcopal Church has welcomed refugees and has advocated for immigration policies that protect families, offer a path to citizenship and respect the dignity of every human being. Some of this work happens behind the scenes; other times, it is carried out in public statements, advocacy and public witness.

On June 19, Washington, D.C., Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde joined dozens of other female faith leaders outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters to pray together and speak out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the borders.

“As women of faith, we speak on behalf of mothers and fathers, men and women. We speak on behalf of all Americans who are horrified at the way that migrant families are being forcibly separated at our borders,” Budde said. “These adults and children have already been traumatized by life-threatening violence in their own countries, and they have made the dangerous journey to our borders in hope of refuge. Yet then when they arrive to the United States, in our name, they are forced apart – the most devastating trauma imaginable for young children and parents.

“I speak today as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who taught us, by his example, to welcome children when they come to us, to welcome, not detain them. He taught us that however we treat the least among us – those most vulnerable and in need of care – is how we treat Christ himself,” she continued.

“Our nation’s immigration policies have been devastating for children for a very long time. The level of cruelty rises with each new policy, thus far without sufficient outrage among the American people to compel our elected officials to change course.”

Unaccompanied minors and families from Central America began arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers in 2014. The numbers later dropped off, but there’s a new surge happening now at the Southwest border where Customs and Border Protection agents have detained more than 252,000 people – 32,371 unaccompanied minors and 59,113 families – over the last eight months. There are some 11,000 unaccompanied minors in federal custody.

The humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border has drawn international condemnation, bipartisan criticism and outrage from American citizens and religious leaders, particularly following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ and other Trump administration members’ use of scripture to defend the family separation policy.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry signed onto an interfaith statement calling for an end to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. And the presiding bishop has talked about immigration and Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger in mainstream media, including on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” and “The Last Word” and in interviews with various newspapers.

Bishops throughout the church have criticized the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“It’s not being political to say America shouldn’t be in the business of breaking up families, it’s Christian. It’s not being political to say America shouldn’t be putting children in kennel-style cages, it’s Christian,” said Atlanta Bishop Robert C. Wright, in a June 19 statement.

“It’s not political to say that causing children’s tears and mothers’ fear is the best use of our nations might, it’s Christian. It’s not being political to remember that both Republican and Democratic presidents previously chose not to separate families while enforcing immigration policy,” he said.

“Not being political to remind the U.S. Attorney General that quoting the Book of Romans is fine, but ‘…as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me’ is probably a more apt guidance for this situation,” Wright said.

Rhode Island Bishop Nicholas Knisely issued the following statement on June 19: “The Trump administration’s new policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents is morally wrong, not in keeping with the teachings of Christianity or other world religions, and should stop.

“Jesus, reiterating the witness of Hebrew and Christian scriptures, calls on us to treat others as we would want to be treated. Jesus commands us to love our neighbor. Christians are called, with many others, to welcome the stranger in our midst. Jesus tells us in St. Matthew’s Gospel (18:4-6), that whoever welcomes a child, welcomes him. And whoever causes harm to such a one is in grave moral danger.

“I join my voice with other faith and community leaders around this state and this country in calling for the current family separation policy to end immediately and for children to be reunited with their parents as their lawful application for asylum proceeds,” Knisely said.

And from the Diocese of Texas: “Families are the bedrock of American society, and our government has the discretion to ensure that young children are not separated from their mothers and fathers and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Separating babies from their mothers is not only unconscionable, it is immoral,” said Texas Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, in June 14 statement.

“Superior orders will not be an ethical defense for the legacy of pain being inflicted upon these children or the violence to families being woven into the fabric of our future. These actions do irreparable harm, are not proportional to the crime, betray our covenant with God in both the Old and New Testaments, subvert American family values, and are patently inhumane,” Doyle said.

— Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of the Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at lwilson@episcopalchurch.org.


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Comments (79)

  1. Earl B Curtis says:

    Hello! Somebody should tell the @iamepiscopalian (Episcopal Church) and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations that Trump just ended the policy of separating families.

    1. John Miller says:

      No, that has not happened They have accelerated to search..and have no policy in place to be sure that the children separated from their parents can be reunited with them.

  2. Robert Lee says:

    The episcopal church will not miss me, but I’m beginning to be very disappointed in the National church in it’s ultra liberal aspect. No wonder we’re losing members. The episcopal church forgot no is a complete sentence. Just like seaweed, it can’t stand on it’s own.

  3. Joyelle Parker Wiemer says:

    Earl B Curtis It’s a good idea to read the article before commenting. You’ll find the information you’re referencing in the second paragraph.

  4. Larry Waters says:

    The law[s] about the immigration policy were already on the books; the President did not suddenly make laws about immigration. Bluntly, you people are liars! And just so you know, our country cannot accept everybody who wants to enter. As much as we might want to help, our citizens cannot support the all these immigrants. Perhaps the EC will house and feed the thousands of people who want to immigrate to the U.S.

    1. John Miller says:

      Prior presidents ignored that mandate; it was not a law. even if it were a law, it is cruel and damaging to separate kids from their parents. The Bible, overwhelmingly says: welcome the stranger. And how about that Golden Rule? to assume aliens are criminals is unproven.

  5. Donald Heacock says:

    We now have 50,000 migrants per month at our Southern Border. You apparently want them arrested & released. They then are given a hearing date which almost none obey. If they are such honorable people why don’t they show up for their hearing? Of course you never mention their failure to obey US law. We now have at least 700,000 of these criminals in our country along with a total of at least 12,000,000 of illegals residing in our country. I believe the Episcopal Church & others like are major aider & abbeter of criminal activity in the USA. While they welcome the stranger they murder there own within there own bodies. God loves the little ones. ALL OF THEM!

  6. Donald Heacock says:

    Donald Heacock.

  7. Lynn B Casey says:

    700,000 criminals in our country?? Where did you come up with that number. What about all the American criminals that are born here?

  8. Douglas Register says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Episcopalian priests go to Honduras/Guatamala to fight gangs. Oops! RETRACTION: Due to the potential of soiling their vestry garments, they decided to protest Trump.

  9. John Hobart says:

    Given all of the very public problems of the Episcopal Church, one can’t help but forgive politicians for not paying much attention to Episcopal bishops. It is amusing that, to a person, they think they know how to run the country while the tiny Protestant denomination they are supposed to run continues to decline. I suspect that I am not the only Episcopalian who has concluded that they are using partisan politics to divert our attention from their own performance.

  10. Bruce Bogin says:

    To me it is immaterial whether you like the Episcopal Church our don’t like it or believe it is a failing institution. What is at stake and at issue here is the separation of children from parents, regardless of what the parents have done. It is heartless. It is cruel. It is totally contrary to values we like to think are American values. In my opinion no person who has the slightest conscience can condone it. Today I am thoroughly ashamed of my country. The children are exposed to physical and sexual abuse by those who are supposed to guard them. The children are traumatized by the separation and will carry the effects throughout their lives. There is no guarantee that these children will ever be reunited with their parents. What our government is doing is disgusting. To those of you who think this practice is okay I ask where is your heart, where is you compassion, where is your sense of decency? It is all too redolent of Nazi Germany when Jews were rounded up and dragged off. Who cares? They’re only Jews. These people are only Latin immigrants.

    1. Morgan Edwards says:

      Shame on you for trying to compare what the Nazis did to the Jewish people to this situation … they are NOT even in the same league. All you want to do is fan flames and upset people. Please fan your flames and raise up to help the AMERICAN children separated from their parents. The people illegally crossing our borders should not be more important to you than AMERICAN children in need of food, shelter, protection, education, medical care. So why do you care less for those needy children? Every nation in the world has immigration policies. Many would just shoot, or imprison someone trying to sneak across their borders. The Bible also tells us to obey man’s laws too. We are a nation of laws – they need to be followed. You don’t like sonething, work to change it.

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        Why should we care more about American citizens over non-American citizens? Aren’t all people God’s children? What makes Americans more valuable than non-Americans?

  11. Bill Louis says:

    Separation of children from parents entering the country illegally has been going on since 2014. Why suddenly all the outrage now? The previous administration did the exact same thing. Why no outcry till now. The political bias here is maddening.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      No, this zero tolerance policy did not happen under any previous administration. Not Obama, not Bush, not Clinton, it happened under Trump. Please do not perpetuate this falsehood to defend the immoral policies of this administration.

  12. Wink McKinnon says:

    I must have missed the vigil when Obama was doing the same thing during his presidency.

  13. william dailey says:

    The Church should be honest and clearly state that it supports an open borders policy. The reaction of the progressives to Trumps executive order makes this a clear objective. Trump ordered that children not be separated from mothers-but both are detained. But this is objectionable as well to the progressive open borders groups. The goal posts have moved you see. AS the Church eagerly condemns Trump it gasps in horror that the US policy to enforce our laws has resulted in international criticism. It thus stands by as our border policy is likened to German death camps. Make no mistake, those who support a lawless open border policy have little concern for the future of America as we know it. Where was the Church these past years when children were separated, young boys and girls used as sex toys as they traveled to our border (this continues to this day)–the Church was AWOL in the face of this suffering. These are facts. Follow the Church open borders policy if you like but make no mistake, if it succeeds your family will eventually lose all the freedoms we have enjoyed. In the meantime please encourage the Church to stop guilt tripping its members as it tries to justify its open borders goals and speak honestly as it encourages the elimination of our borders. My sense is that this won’t happen.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      Wanting a humane immigration policy is not support for “open borders.” Why do so many conservative think it has to be either cruel immigration laws or open borders. Is there not something in between those extremes?

  14. Hamilton Jones says:

    It’s my understanding the President signed an executive order overriding the law. Apparently the members of Congress are not willing to work with the President to “fix” our immigration policies. From what I understand, these children are separated from their “parents” because of “crimes” the parents are committing. The same thing happens everyday when American citizens commit crimes. Maybe these people should hold a rally to thank the President for signing the executive order.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      The president doesn’t get credit for fixing a problem he created in the first place. I am, however, grateful he repented and saw that what he was doing was indefensible.

      1. Wink McKinnon says:

        Sorry, Matt, but Obama was doing the same and no one paid attention.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          No, he was not. The zero tolerance policy occurred under Trump, not any previous administration.

          1. Bill Louis says:

            The law was there.Obama chose to ignore it. It’s either open borders or enforce the laws. You can’t have it both ways. Crossing into this country illegally is not the way to seek asylum. Asylum seekers must go to a port of entry is seeking asylum otherwise they are entering illegally.

  15. Evan G Lassen says:

    Please note. Comments appear to be aimed at “Trump”. Trump,the man, ran for and won the office of President As President he did not put these families where he finds them where
    they were put BEFORE he stepped into the Oval Office. Please Church be the CHRISTIAN
    COMMUNITY we are called to be. Concern for these families is better served when you learn that politicians (With a capital “P” ) opened this door and a prior administrations began and ignored this problem. As this administration begins a process to unravel the snag that
    opponent politicians will not, cannot or don”t want to now take ownership & responsibilty
    for and roll up their sleeves to help as a “Good Neighbor” would do. What’s to be
    done will have to be with the Congress and the President, Not just “TRUMP” ! I would suppose most of the Congress are Christians, so why not talk to them as “Brother” Christians
    and as a Denomination be “HELPERS” and no just “YELPERS” ! Amen.

  16. Matt Ouellette says:

    We’re talking about asylum seekers, not criminals. It is not the same situation, and you know it.

  17. Doug Desper says:

    Zero Tolerance began under Trump a couple months ago. Reason? Only about 3 percent of detained border jumpers returned for their immigration hearings once released on their honor. Trusting failed. Detaining families has failed. Holding families separate or together has failed. The many legal nuances to weave through are maddening. The L.A. Times pointed out in May that more than a few dishonest border jumpers had children with them that were not theirs. Child trafficking was discovered, leading to separation of children from adults until the truth could be discovered. On the long journey to the U.S. many of these illegal immigrants passed by at least a half-dozen U.S. Consulates in Mexico spread out near our border. That was the place to seek asylum. They were bypassed. There are asylum-seekers, persecuted people, the dishonest, criminals, gangs, and human traffickers all headed out way. It is a mess. Rather than activist Episcopalians showing ability to understand nuances and complexities we often see the easy “go to” reaction of protesting. Where were you when the kids were in cages years ago? During Obama’s time. Why now? To put Trump’s fingerprints on it. Predictable. But the yelling doesn’t come close to any solution. Saying what one opposes doesn’t create solutions…just noise. The border is a mess. Every solution is failing because of the whole lack of truth and honesty that accompanies illegal border crossing. Dishonesty creates draconian responses. At least Trump is changing the policy and demanding that Congress creates a legislative solution that combines security, compassion, and equity for Americans and the foreign born. As a matter of justice we owe resources to America’s underserved, and limited assistance to foreign born people seeking safety. We cannot become the world’s migrant camp. How about the NEXT protest be at the Mexican and Central American embassies to call them out for not taking care of their own citizens? How about protesting for some justice on behalf of Americans who are absorbing the fallout of illegal immigration? Wont happen, will it?

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I don’t see much nuance from the conservative side either, Doug. I mostly see stereotyping of immigrants as criminals, rapists, and gang members. Also, there was plenty of outrage against Obama by immigration activists when he enforced inhumane immigration policies. You might not have noticed it then, but it definitely existed. But as you said earlier, the zero tolerance policy was started by Trump, not any previous administration. That’s why he is receiving such harsh criticism and not previous presidents. Also, there was one solution to the immigration problem proposed several years ago, which would have improved border security and helped the undocumented immigrants already here, which passed the Senate. However, it died in the House because Republicans wouldn’t vote on it and it was derided as amnesty by several conservatives. And I’m sorry, but I would definitely not say the Trump’s proposed solutions to this problem are compassionate at all. Instead, they harm immigrants and their families. No one is asking us to be the world’s migrant camp, but we can definitely host more refugees here than we currently are. Other countries are taking in more asylum seekers and refugees than we are, so they don’t need protests to improve in that regard.

      1. Doug Desper says:

        Matt, my point is that everything has failed. Every tactic and every policy has failed to stem, soften, or solve illegal immigration. We need a wall, and a clear policy to include DACA, and repatriation to countries of origin for non-asylum seekers.

        Eventually, activist Episcopalians have to answer a fundamental question: how many are enough? It is now becoming a social justice issue for citizens of the United States. We cannot continue to absorb the problems of the world. We have untold numbers of our own citizens that are under-served and on the margins. There is little attention being given to call out the governments of the countries south of our border to get their people taken care of. If they are sovereign nations not wanting or needing a patronizing United States telling them what to do then they need to stand up and be accountable for the welfare of their own citizens. How many should we absorb? 1 million? 2 million? How many? In fiscal year 2018 thus far (October to May) there have been 256,857 apprehensions by the Border Patrol, with likely the same amount coming in undetected. That’s a half-million in half a year!

        https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics

        It’s not always or mostly for asylum when people come. Some just don’t like living at home and want something better. Well, who doesn’t?! The people of the United States want something better for themselves —you know, our neighbors are the original “Dreamers”! Others crossing illegally are criminals. Others are traffickers. Others are in gangs. Jumping borders and draining resources is not practicing “love thy neighbor” to the people of the United States who count in this debate but are not being mentioned in any – not one – Episcopal pronouncement.

        I’ve never once heard any Episcopal leader look at the tidal wave of border jumpers (not to include the persecuted or genuine asylum seekers) and say, “Love thy neighbor – the people of the United States. Stay home and work out your country’s issues.”

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          I would argue that illegal immigration is not the massive issue you and many others make it out to be. We have had a record low in illegal border crossings recently:
          https://www.npr.org/2017/12/05/568546381/arrests-for-illegal-border-crossings-hit-46-year-low
          I also don’t think Trump’s “solutions” are solutions at all, but are wasteful (we don’t need to spend billions of dollars on a wall) and inhumane. How about instead of throwing out immigrants who are looking for a better life, our country spends more resources on job creation programs (e.g. infrastructure spending, investments in research and green energy, higher education, etc.) and welfare to help Americans who are struggling instead of giving massive tax cuts to billionaires and corporations and wasting money on a bloated defense budget? I am not convinced that the U.S. cannot take care of its own citizens and provide asylum for more refugees and immigrants who are looking to make a better life for themselves and their families. We just need to be willing to spend the resources to make it happen instead of enriching those who already have plenty.

          1. Doug Desper says:

            Matt: Sorry, but a quarter-million people crossing illegally in a half year IS a problem when you compound that there are already millions here under the radar absorbing social services that are already strained. I am not talking about asylum-seekers and refugees. I’m talking about a near-unchecked invasion of our sovereign country that is sometimes being encouraged and somewhat aided by countries south of the United States. “Love Thy Neighbor” applies to our native countrymen and countrywomen too!

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            No, I don’t think illegal immigration is a major issue right now. We have a net flux of illegal immigrants out of the country, not into our country:
            http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2017/apr/26/ron-kind/yes-experiencing-net-outflow-illegal-undocumented-/
            Remember, border crossing happens both ways, which is why we need to look at net migration into our country rather than just raw border numbers. Yes, “love thy neighbor” applies to American citizens as well as immigrants and foreign people, but I don’t believe we need to choose between the two of them. Again, if we allocate resources properly, I believe we can properly care for both.

        2. Jim Hourin says:

          There are several U.S. Consulates and a U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Any legitimate request for asylum should be heard there. Illegally crossing the border is the wrong way to do it, but has proven so effective that it has become primary.

  18. Bill Louis says:

    Matt, I stand corrected. Obama intimated a zero tolerance policy as well. It makes your outrage even more hypocritical.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      No, Obama did not have a zero tolerance policy:

      http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp/no-donald-trumps-separation-immigrant-families-was/

      Obama was far from perfect with regards to humane enforcement of immigration policy (ask any immigration activist), but this reprehensible policy is all Trump. You should stop spreading misinformation in defense of the Trump administration and its immoral policies.

    2. Matt Ouellette says:

      Fact-checkers would not agree with your statement:
      http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp/no-donald-trumps-separation-immigrant-families-was/

      Now Obama was far from perfect in enforcing a humane immigration policy (just ask any immigration activist), but he did not enact this abhorrent policy. Trump did. Please do not spread falsehoods in defense of the Trump administration’s immoral behavior.

  19. Bruce Bogin says:

    What difference does it make if Obama did it or didn’t do it? That is unimportant. What is being done today is important. What our government is doing in separating children from their parents even if they are illegals is inhuman, disgusting and loathsome. No person of conscience can possibly approve.

    1. Wink McKinnon says:

      The difference?
      Obama, the darling progressive of the left got a pass. Now the Church and the MSM find fault with anything and everything attached to Trump.

      1. Bruce Bogin says:

        So what. It is today that we must be concerned with, not yesterday. Many bad things happened under every president. That’s history. There is nothing anyone can do about the mistakes of yesterday such as three needless wars which killed thousands of our young men. We can only do something about the atrocities of today and we must make our voices heard against the present day inhumanity.

        1. David A. Salmon says:

          So what? The reason it is important to acknowledge that the Obama Administration is also guilty of inhumane treatment (caging children, turning them over to human traffickers) is to bear witness and make sure it doesn’t happen again simply because a progressive gets elected.
          When the inhumane treatment was going on during the Obama Administration, the leadership of the Episcopal Church (and fellow progressives) said nothing. They.Said.Nothing. Suddenly they find their voice, but if this problem continues and a progressive start elected, they will once again go silent and turn their face away because of politics. That is a definition of moral cowardice.
          Work to fix the problem, be morally honest and call out ALL politicians, including progressives, and leave the partisan politics out of the discussion.

          1. Matt Ouellette says:

            I’m sorry, but it is not true that progressives said nothing about Obama’s enforcement of inhumane immigration laws. They held his feet to the fire over the issue. They called him the “deporter in chief.” Here’s a 2014 article by the ACLU as an example if you don’t believe me:
            https://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/exiled-obama-administrations-horrifying-deportation-record
            You might not have noticed the progressive backlash against Obama’s immigration policies, but it definitely existed.

          2. David A Salmon says:

            While it is nice that a few activist said something at the time, the progressives (especially the media) said very little and the Episcopal Church did next to nothing. Remember the vigils and protests the Episcopal Church had against Obama? No? They didn’t happen. And please, please do not down grade what happened then; a child who can unaccompanied and is “caged” is still a caged child; a child “ripped” from their parents arms via deportation is still a child ripped.

            Again, all politicians should be held accountable including progressives or this will continue to happen. No more excuses why this is “different”.. people who insist this do not care about kids but are just trying to score cheap political points. If progressives would have been as anger at President Obama as they are now, maybe this could have been avoided. The Episcopal Church better start showing that their morality is based on something other than partisan politics or members will continue to flee…

          3. Matt Ouellette says:

            It wasn’t just the Episcopal Church that spoke out against this. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Southern Baptist Convention did as well. No rational person would argue those are partisan organizations. Also, this policy was indeed different than under Obama or any other previous administration:
            http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp/no-donald-trumps-separation-immigrant-families-was/
            Please don’t use whataboutisms to defend this administration’s immoral behavior.

  20. Matt Ouellette says:

    I’m proud to see our church condemn this immoral policy alongside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church, and other faith groups. Separating children from parents who are seeking asylum from gang violence and domestic abuse is a moral abomination and Christians should be speaking out against this injustice. This should not be seen as a “left” vs. “right” issue, but a right vs. wrong issue.

  21. Terry Francis says:

    Sorry Matt but this is absolutely a Left vs Right issue. Always has been. I am so fed up with the self-righteous hypocrisy of Bruce Bogin, yourself and others who stand in judgement of those who dare to disagree with you on this issue. I am well aware of the gangs and all the other things that make life miserable for people in Central America. I am aware that people want to leave there and make a better life for themselves and their families. But I am also aware we
    simply cannot allow families by the thousands to come pouring illegally across our borders. WE CANNOT SUPPORT ALL OF THEM! Our schools, medical facilities and social agencies are already strained to the breaking point. Is that fact so impossible for you progressives to comprehend?? As for you Bruce Bogin, regarding your belief that people who share my opinion have no conscience, I don’t think I can express to you enough how little I care what you think of us. (And of course you had to go back to the left-wing playbook and mention those “three needless wars”. You progressives are so predictable.)And Matt, news flash: progressives like yourself want open borders. They have made that crystal clear from their rhetoric and their protests. There shouldn’t even be a debate regarding that.
    You are all probably getting saddle sores from sitting on that self-righteous high horse of yours. Now that Trump has signed an order that ends the separations you might consider climbing down!

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      How is not wanting to separate children from their parents a left vs. right issue? Keeping families together should be something liberals and conservatives agree on. Is it really the conservative position now to support ripping apart families? How can people of good conscience support that? No one is saying we should take in all refugees and immigrants. We are saying we need a more humane way of vetting and treating them. The zero tolerance policy of the Trump administration is the opposite of humane. I also find it interesting that you somehow think you know what I believe better than I do. I and many other progressives have made it clear that we do not support open borders, but more humane immigration policies. Why is it that you think that the only two options on immigration are draconian laws and open borders? Surely there must be something in between those extremes. Also, while Trump has stopped separating families at the border, the children who have already been separated have not yet been reunited with their parents, so he still has much to do to clean up the mess he made.

  22. Thomas H Solenberger MD says:

    Much of my 50 medical year career has been involved with breaking or broken families
    …divorce/prison/deployments/and especially removal of children from abusive parents or care givers. My 15 years of practice along the New Mexico/Mexico border involved murdered/terrorized/robbed/assaulted patients/friends/colleagues/self by illegal aliens. I support the enforcement of the existing laws; law enforcement up close is like cancer therapy…it ain’t pretty.
    If our legislators don’t like the laws that were passed by them some time ago, they can change them.
    This recent fuss about something that’s been happening for a long time seems to be the usual confrontational political agenda that is tearing this country apart.
    Since our presiding bishop has decided that what I believe in and feel comfortable with is “heresy”, guess I’ll have to mosey along to avoid contaminating the rest of you; I’ll take my “marbles” with me. Pity,our Church was once a sanctuary for peaceful contemplation and a respite from our crazy world.
    Best wishes to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on his quest to join Bishop Desmond Tutu as a Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      And every time progressives advocate changing the laws to be more humane, conservatives complain that we just want amnesty and don’t want to follow the law. So which is it?

  23. Hamilton Jones says:

    Supposedly many of these children are not the children of those they are with. They are being used for various purposes. Children were kept in cages under the Obama administration. Some of the pictures that have been recently posted were taken during the previous administration. Who is financing this “Episcopal” Policy Network? I’ve read the Diocese of Washington, D.C. is in financial ruins and cannot place their newly ordained priests. We’ve had to cut the budget for evangelism and yet we’re running around in Washington protesting a policy that has already been overturned by an executive order of President Trump.

  24. Bill Louis says:

    Hamilton, if you contribute to your church’s general fund you are funding the EPPN. The Dioceses “tax” the churches and thats where the funding comes from. The Federal Govenment contributes money to the church for migrant resettlement as well so in a way, if you contribute to your church’s general fund you are complicit in their activism. There are other ways to support your church without contributing to the Diocese if you care to look into it. The church publishes a budget for approval at the upcoming convention. Look it up. Most Episcopalians have no idea whats going on with the higher church’s finances. The only way to stop this nonsense is to dry up the money.

  25. Matt Ouellette says:

    It appears the most of the Trump supporters here continue to misunderstand (either deliberately or not) about the border crisis, so let’s clear some things up. No, this zero tolerance policy did not happen under Obama or any other previous administration:
    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp/no-donald-trumps-separation-immigrant-families-was/
    Obama’s immigration policies were often bad as well, and activists did indeed call him out on it (i.e. this is not selective outrage). You may not have noticed it at the time, but it happened a lot. However, this current policy is all on Trump, and is also uniquely abhorrent, which is why the response to it has been as massive as it has been. Also, the Episcopal Church is not being partisan in calling the administration out on this immoral policy. Other faith groups have also criticized the administration for this policy, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Southern Baptist Convention. I don’t think any rational person would claim that those are liberal organizations. One more thing: Trump may have stopped separating families at the border, but his administration has still not reunited the children who were already separated by his zero tolerance policy, so he still has much to do to clean up the mess he made.

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