The Federal Detention Center in Seatac, Washington is the new "home" to 200 immigrants, an undetermined number separated from children by immigration authorities. Photo by Flickr user SounderBruce via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2.0.

By the Rev. Lyda Pierce

There are about 200 women and men who are new neighbors within the boundaries of our conference. They were brought here by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and reside in the federal prison in SeaTac. These people fled their homes fearing for their lives and arrived at a U.S. border asking for refuge for themselves and their children.

The legal term for such refuge is asylum—granting someone the right to live in an adopted country because their lives are in danger where they came from. Yet instead of welcome and safety, they had their children taken away and they were locked up in a prison. Their children are probably in another state.

The Council of Bishops has joined many other faith leaders in decrying this practice of separating children from their parents at the border. In the State of Washington, Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are also protesting, demanding clarification from the federal government.

House Speaker Paul Ryan just announced that the House of Representatives will discuss immigration bills next week. This is a breakthrough. Until now, internal House regulations have been used to keep immigration bills off the floor.

 Learn more and educate others with this short overview:

Let your representative and other governmental officials know what you think Congress should do.

Call (202) 224-3121, enter your zip code to be connected to your representative, and leave your comments. Here is a suggestion:  We want Congress to pass immigration legislation narrowly focused on a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and protecting immigrants.

The General Board of Church and Society reminds us that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a United Methodist, despite ” two announcements in the last month that are at odds with our shared United Methodist values.” They are encouraging people to use social media to tell him care for immigrants:

Network with others working for justice for immigrants through our Facebook group:

We Welcome Immigrants:

The Rev. Lyda Pierce serves as director of Hispanic/Latino Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference Office of Connectional Ministries.

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