Statement from Rev. Dr. John Welch, Chair, Gamaliel Board of Directors, and Pablo Tapia, Chair, Gamaliel Civil Rights for Immigrants Campaign, on Executive Order to End the Separation of Immigrant Families
For Immediate Release
Contact: Rev. Cynthia Owen Jarrold, (913) 219-3198
Chicago, IL (June 20, 2018) – This afternoon President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order that would end the separation of families seeking asylum at the southern border of the United States. This is an important first step. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough.
Current immigration law prohibits the federal government from keeping immigrant children in detention centers for more than 20 days; and that provision in the law must be changed by a congressional action that prioritizes keeping families together. Furthermore, the “zero tolerance policy” put into effect by this Administration, which has forced family separation, needs to be reversed. We are a nation that previously welcomed people fleeing war, violence, and persecution through critical refugee and asylum provisions in the law; and we are a nation that previously prioritized families as foundational to healthy communities and economic growth and security.
As people of faith and members of the Gamaliel Network, we call on Congress and the President to act courageously and take the moral high road by taking the next critical steps to keep families together and to reunite immediately those who have been separated.
The Gamaliel Network is a community organizing network with affiliates in 17 states and 44 regions. Gamaliel’s organizing work draws on struggles for justice by people of faith spanning many nations, creeds, and cultures. Our work draws on the sacred writings of our multiple faith traditions—the Torah, Christian teachings from the Bible, Catholic social teaching—as well as the founding principles of American democracy, the U.S. civil rights movement, and many other sources. Above all, our work begins and ends in an expression of the personal faith and values of our members.
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