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.


Comments (79)

  1. Larry Waters says:

    It is obvious that Matt Ouellette, Bruce Bogin and others are intelligent, [com] passionate people. But our citizens did not create the problem[s] that these folks and others[Europe] are fleeing. I do not have the money to feed, house, and clothes [sp?], all these “poor” people. The governments of the countries these refugees are fleeing created and maintain the inhumane conditions the ref. are fleeing. If the U.S. is such a horrible country, why are all these folks trying to enter? While deplorable, the U.S. CANNOT look after the whole world. We have people here who need our help, thus the EC Dev. and Relief Fund. For the Hollywood folks who have made millions of dollars under our capitalist economic system, and any folks who agree with messrs. Bogin and Ouellette, feel free to open your wallets and feed, house etc. all the refugees. Aside from the refugee problem, this forum plainly highlights the huge divide between leftists/liberals and conservatives. Our country is headed down the same destructive path as the Roman Empire [see E. Gibbons “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”]. Personally, I am hoping that we have a chance to vote on having the leftists/liberals live in one area and conservatives live in another area, apart form each other. Otherwise, I fear the dire consequences that will occur.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      We may not have created the problems these migrants face, but that doesn’t mean we have to turn a blind eye to them. Other countries have welcomed more immigrants and refugees than us, and these are often countries with lower populations and wealth. I don’t see why we can’t also provide for these people, and I don’t think we have to compromise our support of our fellow citizens in the process. I’m confident we have the resources; we just need to stop giving massive tax breaks to billionaires and corporations as well as spend less on our bloated defense budget. However, I am saddened that the issue has become subject to partisanship. Being opposed to separating children from their parents should not be a left vs. right issue. It should be something liberals and conservatives both oppose as immoral. It shows how much Trump and many of his supporters have radicalized this country, and I am deeply concerned about its future. I pray to God that we can learn to live together as brothers and sisters rather than separate ourselves from one another.

  2. Bruce Bogin says:

    There are certain things which do not bear discussion and respect for the opinions of those opposed. Slavery was wrong, totally wrong. Those who supported it, including those in a church, were wrong. It is inarguable. Our failure to help Jews seeking to escape the boot of Naziism, like turning away the ship with Jewish refugees to have them perish in the Holocaust, was wrong. Separating children from parents seeking to enter the US because of the intolerable conditions in their countries is wrong. There is no acceptable contrary point of view. It is wrong. If there are criminals amongst those seeking to enter, weed them out. And keep in mind through all of this migration that is going on throughout the world that the US is very much to blame. For over a century we have supported the most vile dictators in countries throughout Central and Latin America and Africa and the Middle East. We have ignored the plight of the people in exchange for something called stability. Now the chickens have come home to roost and we are paying the price. There is no argument which can be made contrary to humanity and common decency. If we have erred in the past, let us at least do the right thing today. No, I do not respect the opinions of those who condone the separation of children from their parents, nor will I ever.

  3. Larry Waters says:

    As a conservative, I actually agree with several points made by Bruce Bogin. Slavery was totally wrong, in the past [Romans, Greeks, U.S., South America etc.] and is wrong now. And anyone/entity who supported slavery is also wrong and/or evil. Separating children from their legitimate parents, is nothing that I condone. Please remember, though, that Fam. and Children Svs. do remove children from legitimate parents. But the larger issue is the refugees overwhelming our country. Our country CANNOT accept zillions of people who may want to come here. U.S. citizens do not have the money to support all these poor refugees. I am sorry. Additionally, gang members are desperate to enter this country, to rob, murder, steal, rape etc. Each sovereign country has a right and responsibility to govern who enters the country. Many folks who have adverse views to mine explain that refugees are fleeing inhumane conditions; perhaps if the EC, and other religious organizations, and our government and other governments where refugees are coming, pressured these inhumane governments, maybe conditions would improve, but I don’t know. I do know that we cannot continue to accept folks from everywhere. But as I said in a previous post, if all of the leftists/liberals want to monetarily support, house, feed etc. all these refugees then please, open your wallets and your homes. Not that it matters, but I do contribute money to shelters housing homeless people where I live.

  4. Bill Louis says:

    Matt you’re a Trump hater so anything he does will not satisfy you and your ilk. You are not happy when he signs an order to reunite families. You’re not happy if its not done quickly enough for you. You’re not happy with the fact the illegal border crossers are being charged with a crime and being held accountable. So what is it Matt shall we just let these illegal immigrants stream across the border to wherever they want to go. Will you be happy when they overwhelm our hospitals, schools and welfare system so that our citizens cannot get not get these services? Will you be happy when crime and drug use goes through the roof. Please tell me what is it that will make you happy.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      What would make me happy would be for you and other Trump supporters to stop demonizing immigrants and their families. All evidence shows that immigrants do not increase crime and that they have a positive impact on the economy. Also, illegal immigration is at a net decrease, so we should stop fearmongering about that now:
      And as I’ve already said, Trump has still not reunited children with their families yet, so he is not in the clear here. I’m sorry you think criticism of Trump’s immoral politics and behavior are judged as hate, but I’m just calling it as I see it. I and many other people recognize his behavior as dangerous for our democracy and as un-Chistian, especially when he scapegoats and dehumanizes immigrants and minorities. He also lies at a rate far above previous presidents and seems not to care. I will not apologize for calling out this behavior. One last point: I’m sure you and other Trump supporters were as charitable towards Obama, right? Or did you hate him like you claim I hate Trump?

  5. mike geibel says:

    Previously, illegal entry for “asylum” was an infraction where immigrants were given a “ticket” with a notice to appear in court. (Like a traffic ticket). History proved that this “catch and release” policy doesn’t work–illegals disappear and don’t appear in court for a judicial determination of their status. As a result, EVERY smart illegal alien claims asylum from this or that oppression so that only a “ticket” will be issued, which they will never pay. This failed policy was changed to the “zero tolerance” policy where illegal entry was elevated to a federal misdemeanor which required the adult who committed the crime to be taken into police custody. But our laws state that children cannot be incarcerated for the crimes of their parents, whether you are a citizen or non-citizen. There lies the dilemma. There are 50,000 immigrants challenging the border every month. The separation was heartbreaking and unacceptable, so Trump stopped it with an executive order.

    The politicians’ continuing angst over the separation of children for illegal immigrant parents has little to do with what is humane, moral or compassionate. The goal is to win the mid-term elections and limit Trump to one term. Haters of Trump are more interested in throwing gasoline on the fire, and not in solutions. Progressives and liberals decry separation of children from parents but offer no practical or fiscally sound alternative solution other than what would be a defacto open border, free health care for anyone on U.S. soil (mandated by the Courts), and no ability to enforce of our nation’s laws.

    No one wants to separate children from parents. But the public vitriol spewed by Trump haters demonstrates no desire for honest debate. Vile lies and sophomoric propaganda is being spewed by media hacks and politicians on both sides of the immigration issue, who are using the children of illegal immigrants as political pawns. Schools have chain link fences, but to the media, they are cages. Our honorable federal officers–who risk their lives and who are charged with enforcing our federal laws—are comparted to the Gestapo, to SS Nazi troops, or worse, to pedophiles and child abusers. Spouses and children of border patrol Federal officers and their families are targeted with hate-mail and death threats. TV comedians and actors nightly denounce conservatives with profanity during the family hours, and one even advocates for the kidnapping, rape and then murder of the President’s 10 year old son. Promoting violence governs every news release.

    Honest protestors who do not denounce anger and hatred cannot walk arm-in-arm with vitriolic anarchists and not be complicit in the disintegration of civility and the rise of hatred in this country. It is right to speak up against perceived injustice, but it is not right to fail to condemn those that cross the line into defamatory and disgusting vitriol.

    Compassion for the sojourner does not determine who or how many may immigrate into the U.S., and is not an rational basis for immigration policy. And those who demand compassion for the sojourner have yet to explain how no deportations, sanctuary cities, free healthcare, free food stamps, and free college education, will be paid for. Gavin Newson, the overwhelming gubernatorial choice in the People’s Republic of California (the state that is 66% Democrat, and where Republicans are disenfranchised in every national winner-takes-all election) has the solution—his platform is to double the state income tax rate to 20%. California driver’s licenses are handed out to uninsured, illegal aliens like chewing gum.

    The TEC and other churches should not be surprised when members have to use their 10% tithe to pay the taxes needed to finance the economic burden imposed by hundreds of thousands of unskilled workers flooding cities where unskilled jobs are disappearing or below a living wage. Automated kiosks are replacing parking lot attendants; drug dealing is a profitable enterprise.

    Nor should the Church be shocked when state property taxes start being assessed on church property in order to close state and county budgets. Dozens of businesses in California are already relocating to other states, and home prices are increasing at a rate that will make ownership of a single-family home impossible for our children who do not graduate with degrees for high paying jobs. Secularism is on the rise, and atheist groups demand and socialist politicians are reconsidering, the merits of the “Christian Privilege” given to tax-free religious institutions such as the Episcopal Church who do not contribute their fair share to the costs of government aid to the poor, universal health care, police and fire, and roads and infrastructure.

    Trump’s proposed solutions aren’t perfect but they are a start. They include an effective border wall (as a deterrent rather than impenetrable), elevating “infractions” to misdemeanors and for repeat intruders, a felony, enforcing penalties against businesses who hire illegals, merit based immigration (we are overpopulated for “unskilled” jobs), an end to chain migration, and a solution to DACA and asylum immigrants that allows what is essentially amnesty for children of illegal aliens who have grown up as Americans and for deserving refugees. The solution from the Democrats seems to be resistance at any cost, profanity-laced denunciations, and “no” to anything proposed—we can’t let Trump win anything because we want to win back Congress. But when they win, the minority Republicans will respond with “resistance” and vitriol, and the dysfunctional cycle will continue. Surveys tell us that 80% of Americans want enforcement of immigration laws. We just have to find a way to do it without separating children from parents and without calling each other nasty names. And we have to demand that our politicians act with both humanity and common sense.

    The alternative will be for the President to militarize the southern border with regular army troops and tanks (not the National Guard). Mexico will respond in kind, and no one will get through, except for those Mexican troops who defect and seek asylum.

    The pernicious media coverage and sanctuary city declarations are a symptom of a much broader disease: a dysfunctional Congress and the near total loss of control over immigration policy and total loss of respect for the Rule of Law. Fifty years ago, immigration policy was the driver of immigration numbers. Today, the numbers and a sanctimonious desire to “do good,” drive immigration policy. The non-stop increase of illegal aliens is creating a class-divided society, with no middle class, and will crater the economy and change the law in a manner which destroys any distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Ultimately, the rancor will dissolve the idea of sovereign identity.

    The TEC has aligned itself against any effort to support the priority of protecting American citizens and our jobs. The “reclaiming Jesus” declaration of the Church expressly called “America First” as “heresy.” The TEC proclamations have declared enforcement of immigration laws as “racist.” The TEC’s mantra is “one world order,” open borders and a socialist government-controlled economy where there is no inequality–instead we should all be dependent upon the Church and government largess and be equally poor and equally unhappy.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I’m glad that you recognize that separating children from their parents is wrong, but it’s a shame that you have to assume that the only reason to be outraged against this is because we hate Trump. Could it not possibly be that the separation of children from their parents is such a moral abomination that it invoked the outrage? Why do you and other Trump supporters act all paranoid that people are only out to get Trump? I’ll let you in on something: if Trump would stop behaving so immorally, he wouldn’t get criticized. It’s as simple as that. He brings the criticism upon himself. And then you claim TEC is being partisan in its opposition to Trump on this, but as I’ve said here before, other faith groups have also opposed this immoral policy, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. No one would argue those are liberal organizations.

      1. mike geibel says:

        You incorrectly assume that I voted for President Trump or that I do not find him a disagreeable person. I do agree with some, but not all of Trump’s political agenda, but the flaws in his character are matched by the flaws in his detractors who react with hate and name calling, rather than civil debate. When blind anger motivates one’s speech, there is no ability to understand why others may disagree. Media personalities and internet politico’s cannot be journalists when they are advocates for a particular political party or issue. I do not trust any of them (MSNBC, CNN or Fox News) to be objective or honest because they resort to name-calling, exaggeration and selective facts.

        It was right to call-out a policy that is hurtful to children and seek to persuade those in power to change it. It is not right (or Christian) to react with anger and hate by calling Presidents or border patrol officers immoral, racists, Nazi’s or child molesters when you disagree with their actions, or inundating the internet with vile epithets.

        So we all agree that separating children from immigrant parents, most of whom are not violent criminals but are seeking a better life, but I have yet to hear a plausible and fiscally sound solution to the immigration problem from the Democrat leadership or from the leaders of the Episcopal Church. Even Democrats can have good ideas–I just haven’t heard any on the immigration issue. All I hear is ugly name-calling.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          I think the 2014 immigration reform bill which passed the Senate with almost 70 votes was a good approach to solving the immigration issue. It would be nice to see Congress take up and pass that bill. Besides that, this article has some great ideas on how to deal with migrants in a humane manner (which I don’t think Trump has been doing so far):

  6. Larry Waters says:

    Mike Geibel: a fantastic response. Mr. Ouellette, you must be a lawyer. You have an excellent way of phrasing words; e.g. “if Trump would stop behaving so immorally, he wouldn’t get criticized”. Well, just because you say Trump is behaving immorally, does NOT make it so, “to put it simply”, paraphrasing you. I suspect, Mr. Ouellette, that NOTHING Mr. Trump does would ever find favor in your twisted mind [and your mind must be twisted because I said so]! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think that our country is headed down a destructive path. This forum highlights great chasms between folks such as Mr. Ouellette, and Mike Geibel and me. And I assume that we are all members of the EC. Wow. We are approaching the time when there will need to be a number of nation-states, such as Latvia, Lithuania [sp.] and Estonia. Our country is too divided to remain “united”. Our discourse, as other folks have said, is no longer civil, but filled with hate and vitriol. Very sad that Charles Krauthhammer is not around to help us get through this.

  7. Joe Flory says:

    Please tell me HOW IN GOD’s NAME this is a Trump policy problem? This has been the practice since the Clinton years and was ordered by the Liberal 9th Circus Court of Appeals. As Christians, why is there such hatred in your hearts? Does hatred for Trump trump Christianity? And please don’t tell me this is not about Trump – read you own headline – “Episcopal Church to host vigil in DC to condemn TRUMP’S immigration policies separating families” (My emphasis added) I am reminded why I no longer attend church. The sanctimonious hypocrisy drove me out.

  8. Matt Ouellette says:

    How is referring to immigrants in dehumanizing terms (e.g. infestation), passing a zero tolerance policy that rips families apart, lying at a rate far above other politicians, demeaning women, and the myriad of other behaviors that Trump has done not immoral? Those seem to be objectively immoral behaviors. And despite what you say, there are things Trump could do to make me happy. He could start by taking responsibility for his actions, repenting of his behavior, apologize to the country and the world, and then work hard to undo the damage he’s done, starting with reuniting all the families his administration ripped apart. However, based on his previous behavior, I’m not holding my breath. And that’s quite the Christian thing to do to accuse someone of having a twisted mind, but I forgive you. This is a heated discussion, and sometimes it can be frustrating dealing with those you vehemently disagree.

  9. Terry Francis says:

    Matt you need not offer forgiveness to Mr Waters. One doesn’t need forgiveness for speaking the truth. You have no rational solutions to this problem. Only condemnation for those who are trying to control the borders. Mike Geibel made some excellent points. Did you not bother to read any of them? Funny how only Republican presidents are immoral in the eyes of progressives like yourself. If Trump did demean women it surely was no worse than what Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky (remember her?) or the fact that JFK, while president and while very married, chased after anything that wore a skirt. But I’m sure you and other progressives still have only the highest regard for those gentlemen! It’s possible you might one day realize that this country cannot take care of thousands of families that pour over our borders illegally every year. (Even if the number has been reduced as you claim, it’s still a lot) It’s possible you might one day realize that our social services and schools cannot continue to take in and take care of countless illegal immigrants. You might even realize someday that wanting to control our borders is not heartless, cruel or unchristian. But in your case Matt, I’m not going to hold MY breath.

  10. Matt Ouellette says:

    I’m not opposed to border control. I’m opposed to inhumane policies which rip families apart and put people into internment camps. Here’s an article which gives some ideas on how to humanely control the border:
    And I’m sorry, but defending Trump by bringing up Clinton and Democrats is nothing but a whataboutism and not a valid argument.

    1. mike geibel says:

      Mr. Ouellette: Thank you for the links to other solutions tried in the past. Your citation to alternative measures is an example of constructive debate. Ankle monitors and case managers have been tried, but are not perfect, and are expensive. Again, tax payers are left footing the bill. At maximum, about 30,000 immigrants were wearing ankle bracelets, the number or illegals is many times that, and ankle bracelets themselves can be considered inhumane and counter productive. See the following articles:





      Other solutions would include businesses investing in the Central American countries to create jobs there, and using the leverage of our Government to deal harshly with oppressive dictators and governments in those countries.

      The Mexican government’s condemnation of the U.S is rather hypocritical. Illegal immigration into Mexico is a felony, unless you’re passing through, and their solution—when the father is arrested, the wife and kids go to jail, too. I used to be a member of the TEC, and each year we would travel to Dorcas House in Tijuana to give Christmas gifts (clothes and shoes) for the children in the orphanage/foster home. They were not really orphans, but rather, their incarcerated mothers and fathers had sent their children across the street to the Dorcas House because of the dangers and potential for child abuse inside the jail compound. You see, the guards patrol the exterior walls of the prison, but the prisoners live in the makeshift village inside with little police protection for the children.

      Dorcas House receives minimal support from the Mexican Government and exists through volunteer funding and support from Episcopal Churches in the Los Angeles and San Diego area. This is an example of the Episcopal Church at its best. When my local diocese condemned Trump before he did anything, and then passed sanctuary resolutions to harbor illegals and labeled all those who support enforcement of immigration laws as racists, I left the Church forever.

  11. Terry Francis says:

    Whataboutism has nothing to do with it Matt. The Clinton and JFK examples merely demonstrate that progressives like yourself have elevated the double standard to an art form.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      No, it is definitely whataboutism, Terry. You and many other conservatives deflect criticism and blame for Trump’s immoral behavior by shifting it to Democrats and liberals, and it is frustrating beyond belief. Instead of pointing somewhere else, why not try taking responsibility for bad behavior for a change?

  12. Larry Waters says:

    Mr. Ouellette, surely you realized that when I said “twisted mind” I was doing exactly the same thing that you are doing calling Mr. Trump immoral; and I said what I said trying to inject some humor. In your preceding post, you again revert to your lawyerly tactics by talking about Mr. Trump’s “immoral” behavior. The law was on the books already, prior to Mr. Trump. And people trying to come into the U.S. illegally are breaking the law! When law-breakers go to jail their children DO NOT go with them-oops separating kids from parents. I don’t see mass hysteria when the judicial system does exactly what you are protesting. Frankly, I do not like executive orders and wish that Mr. Trump had waited for the do-nothing, worthless congress to change the law. But had the President waited for congress, there likely would have been more parent/child separations.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I apologize for not detecting your statement as humorous. Things like that tend to get lost in translation over the internet on occasion, unfortunately. However, I’d like to know how it is lawyerly tactics to bring up specific examples of bad behavior of Trump? No laws were on the books specifically saying that families had to be broken up at the border. That was always up to executive discretion, and no previous administration decided to do it, so you can’t blame previous laws for this. Also, considering illegal crossing is a misdemeanor in most cases, I don’t think it warrants separating parents from their children like in criminal cases. It’s just not comparable. There are more humane measures to guard our borders without resorting to inhumane policies like internment or ripping apart families:

  13. mike geibel says:

    For both sides of this debate: When attacked or insulted, we respond in kind. I plead guilty to having offended others with unkind words. I am trying to do better.

    Jesus could be critical of actions and explain how we should live our lives, but I don’t think he would support the practice of demeaning or insulting others in his name. I don’t remember many passages in the New Testament where Jesus used personal insults or attacked people by calling them vile names. And no passage comes to mind where he denounced the emperor with epithets.

    One of the popular ads for the 2011 Super Bowl was a Coca Cola commercial that pictures two sentries from different nations guarding a dusty border crossing. The two scowling sentries march back and forth across the width of the road on opposite sides of the gate, wearing 1800s-style military uniforms and carrying swords. Soon a piece of paper blows across the border. One sentry draws his sword, pierces the paper, and—face to face with his opponent—he contemptuously flings it back across the border where it came from. Both sentries resume marching. Then, one of the sentries pulls a bottle of Coke from an ice chest and takes a drink. The other sentry watches longingly. The sentry with the Coke pulls another bottle from the chest and offers it to him. They both tip their heads back and drink deeply. For a brief, unguarded moment they smile faintly at each other—but then return to guarding their boundaries.

    The symbolism is not about the border between Mexico and the U.S. It is about the borders we build between each other. Unity requires respect and sensitivity, not insults and vilification. It requires that one sacrifice one’s own conceit that only you are morally and intellectually correct so others must be evil. All Americans want peace, prosperity and unity. But this can only happen when we respect one another, even if we may have differing politics or differing opinions.

  14. Jim Hourin says:

    U.S. Embassy, Mexico City
    U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez
    U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara
    U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo
    U.S. Consulate General Matamoros
    U.S. Consulate General Merida
    U.S. Consulate General Monterrey
    U.S. Consulate General Nogales
    U.S. Consulate General Nuevo Laredo
    U.S. Consulate General Tijuana

  15. Ken Alexander says:

    Having just dropped in here for a quick look-around, this thread is pretty bizarre and not what I would have expected for a church news comment section. So many words expended to so little purpose: obviously nobody’s going to convince anybody of anything. Why so much wasted effort? You all must have better things to do with your time.

    Want to make this thread better? Just focus on the question at hand: What’s the best way for Episcopalians to help these kids? All ideas should be considered and calmly debated.

  16. Terry Francis says:

    Taking responsibility for bad behavior Matt? You mean like the bad behavior shown by immigration activists when they heckled and booed Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a restaurant to the point where she had to get up and leave? Like the bad behavior shown by a restaurant manager who asked press secretary Sarah Sanders and her family to leave her restaurant because she worked for Trump, whose policies offended her? Talk about calling the kettle black!

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      You really think those examples are comparable to ripping apart families? I don’t even know what to say. It’s obvious you will go to whatever lengths to defend Trump. I honestly don’t know what you and others see in him. Why do you spend so much energy defending him when he does the indefensible?

  17. Terry Francis says:

    First of all Matt, I didn’t vote for Trump. I considered him totally unfit for the office. That said, I honestly don’t know why you turn a blind eye to the unbridled hatred of the progressive left toward not just him but his wife, his children, and his supporters. Believe it or not there are good decent people including Christians who voted for the man. But progressives like you just write them off as ignorant, uneducated, racists, intolerant, etc. You call the facilities where the kids were kept concetration camps (I don’t recall seeing any ovens over there like they had for the Jews) ICE agents have been called terrorists and the people who run the facilities brown shirts. Progressives show no civility toward people who disagree with them on this issue at all. I guess standing in judgement of them is a lot easier.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      You don’t seem to show much civility towards progressives. You seem to brand us all as hateful and intolerant. And I’m sure many of you were just as civil towards Obama or the Clintons, right? The reason why so many of us are outraged by Trump is because of how uniquely dangerous and immoral he appears to be as a president. He lies far above the rate of even the most dishonest politicians, demonizes immigrants and minorities, and shows little concern for democratic norms:
      It isn’t just progressives that have noticed this, either. Some conservatives have as well, and have been relentless in their criticisms, probably moreso that many progressives (e.g. Steve Schmidt, Jennifer Rubin). Do you think you could at least try to understanding where we are coming from? While many people who are Christian may have voted for Trump, that doesn’t change his immoral and, in my opinion, un-Christian behavior and policies. Christians have voted for and done bad things in the past, so it’s not surprising. After all, we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

  18. regina mcilvain says:

    Looking at the thread above, I can feel the political tensions rising. The thing is, the greatest call to faith facing us at the moment is the protection of innocent children. On that issue Jesus is very clear and his admonition has been repeated even in mainstream media this past week: “suffer the little children to come unto me.” and “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    There is time to discuss all the finer points of law and policy after we retrieve the children currently listed as ‘missing’, reunite them to their parents and ensure their protection.

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