Bishop's statement on family separation

June 15, 2018
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Dear Friends,

Last week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops joined other faith organizations in issuing a statement asking the United States government to end its policy of separating immigrant families. The statement includes these words, “Recently, the U.S. Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the well-being of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news. 

“We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children.” You may read the full statement here.

According to the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church, paragraph 162.C, “Children…are full human beings in their own right, but beings to whom adults and society in general have special obligations. …Moreover, children have the rights to food, shelter, clothing, health care and emotional well-being, as do adults, and these rights we affirm as theirs regardless of actions or inactions of their parents or guardians. In particular, children must be protected from economic, physical, emotional, and sexual exploitation and abuse.”

Paragraph 162.H also clearly states, “We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children….” 

It is estimated that more than 2,400 immigrant families have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border from October 2016 through February 2018 and during two weeks in May. Our United Methodist immigration ministry, Justice for our Neighbors (JFON), is working to help our immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking neighbors obtain safety, protection, and freedom. If you would like to donate to JFON through UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), please click here. 100% of your gift through UMCOR goes to National JFON.

Blessings,
Bishop Laurie