Stop the Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants in the United States

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The members of Exton Community Baptist Church (ECBC) of Exton, Pennsylvania, are asking our friends and neighbors to stand with our immigrant community. These immigrants, many of whom are living and working in the U.S. on H-1B or refugee class visas, and even some Green Card holders, are experiencing actions by the U.S. government that are putting their families and futures at risk. These risks include loss of employment, loss of the ability to live and work in the U.S., loss of family income, disruption in the education of their children, and in some cases the risk of death or persecution upon return to their countries of origin. Recent increases in scrutiny, massive cuts in H-1B quotas, and other changes in U.S. Federal policy are affecting churches and their members and ministries throughout the country. And many of our refugee populations are being targeted now, too, with especially frightening potential outcomes.

These immigrants are our friends, neighbors, and wards. As Americans and as people of faith we are compelled to love and protect them. We do not support the deportation of our friends, nor will we forget the actions that have led to their absence.

These are some of the specific decisions that are putting our immigrants at risk.

  • The decision to deport 200,000 Salvadorans who came here after two horrifying earthquakes which killed over 100,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.[1] We stand with Church World Service’s condemnation of this decision.[2]
  • The decision to end TPS Visas for refugees from the Sudan, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti. President George H.W. Bush created the TPS program in 1990 because he believed that our country has a responsibility to care for our neighbors.[3]
  • The decision to cut our country’s quota for refugees in half.[4] We now have the lowest quota we have seen since 40 years ago, when our population – currently 326 million – was just 222 million. In 1980, we had an annual ceiling of 231,700. In 1990, we had a ceiling of 125,000.[5] Efforts to cut this figure down to less than 50,000 are inhumane.
  • The decision to force immigration judges into a quota system and restrict their ability to refer cases to appellate courts.[6] Due process is a basic tenet of our legal system. Undermining the application of this principle sets a dangerous precedent for all Americans.
  • The President’s efforts to remove a 2015 rule that allowed the spouses of H-1B visa holders to apply for work in the U.S. [7] These spouses pay taxes and serve our communities in constructive ways. They should be allowed to contribute to our nation’s people, services, and economy.

We are asking you, our political representatives, to fight these actions. We, too, are immigrants –immigrants in fact, or the descendants of immigrants. And we are Christians who believe in compassion and are compelled by our scriptures to love and respect all – even the foreigners in our midst. We are made stronger when we embrace the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner as our own. The principles that we embrace are found in: Lev. 19:33-34, Deut. 27:19, Ezk. 47:22, Zech. 7:9-10, Matt. 25:35, and Heb. 13:2.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/06/politics/el-salvador-tps-immigration/index.html
[2] https://cwsglobal.org/cws-condemns-heartless-dhs-decision-to-terminate-protections-for-salvadoran-tps-holders/
[3] https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status
[4] http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/26/trump-to-cut-number-of-refugees-in-u-s-by-more-than-half/
[5] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/us-annual-refugee-resettlement-ceilings-and-number-refugees-admitted-united
[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-seeking-to-speed-deportations-to-impose-quotas-on-immigration-judges/2018/04/02/a282d650-36bb-11e8-b57c-9445cc4dfa5e_story.html?utm_term=.257d4b6fb1a7
[7] https://cis.org/Huennekens/H1B-Spouses-Lose-Work-Authorization



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