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Feb 5, 2018

Bishops condemn U.S. immigration stance

On Friday, a conference of Bishops of the Anglican Episcopal Churches of Central America and Mexico issued a statement on the planned cancellations of several U.S. programs for immigrants. These include Temporary Protection Status (TPS), the refugee permits for Central American minors (CAM) and the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals or DACA. The bishops condemn the “anti-immigrant, racist and discriminatory policies” being adopted by the Donald Trump administration, which it says is already affecting hundreds of thousands of migrants from Haiti to El Salvador. Coincidentally, Trump named these two countries when he questioned during a meeting why the U.S. allowed migrants from what he reportedly called “(shithole) countries” to come over others, though he later denied it. Belize’s Anglican Bishop Philip Wright says such thinking is contrary to Biblical principles that we should treat others with the respect we would demand for ourselves.

 

Bishop Philip Wright, Anglican Diocese

Bishop Philip Wright

“The basic thrust of the communication was to encourage the American administration to have a more compassionate [view], and to think about the impact it will have on families and individuals. And so really the bishops reached out with a more pastoral approach to the situation, asking for the authorities to deal with people in a more humane manner.” There is a strong Biblical mandate to care for the stranger, to remember the foreigner in your land, and the Bible puts it this way – because remember, you were once a foreigner in Egypt. So there was this call of God to remind his own people: take care of those from outside, because there was a time you were also a foreigner.”

 

The bishops’ twelve-point statement calls for humanitarian and fair treatments for migrants in the U.S., a reasonable timeframe for them to identify ways to legalize their status there; a guarantee of the protection and movement of migrants, particularly children and adolescents; and lastly the protection of the family unit. To denounce migrants as delinquents and expel them without basis, the bishops say, would be committing an affront to God, the churches and divine creation. They also call on regional leaders to propose humane and dignified solutions and negotiate with the U.S. on them.

 

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