National policies can and should both reflect our Christian value of welcome and protect U.S. citizens. These two principles are not mutually exclusive. Our leaders do us all a disservice when they fail to acknowledge and honor this truth.
This week, the Administration signaled it would expand its policy to return some asylum seekers to Mexico while they await a decision on their case, known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Additionally, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the border to fund a physical barrier.
Children and families continue to flee their communities, and many are stuck at the northern border of Mexico due to changes in U.S. policy. Both the emergency declaration and expansion of Remain in Mexico policy will further traumatize them by increasing animosity and backlogs to the asylum system.
The national emergency declaration seeks to obtain $8 billion dollars for a wall by transferring funds from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund, Defense Department drug interdiction program, and the military construction fund, among other sources. At a time when apprehensions at the southern border are at a historic low, the transfer of funds from other programs to the southern border is unnecessary.
A wall is not the solution to fixing immigration or addressing border security. We urge the President and Congress to work together for immigration reform that protects the rights and well-being of those who seek asylum here.
To learn more about a Lutheran understanding of immigration issues, read the ELCA social message on “Immigration.”
To learn more about the policy to send asylum seekers to Mexico while awaiting their case, also known as Remain in Mexico, read this Catholic Legal Immigration Network analysis.
To review a letter in which ELCA Advocacy joined over 50 other organizations outlining our specific concerns and asking Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Remain in Mexico policy, see post from the Latin America Working Group.