VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 7/31/18)—Close to 3,000 children have been separated from their parents as a result of the zero-tolerance immigration policy instituted by the U.S. government. In late June, following the mobilization of people of faith and their advocacy for social justice, a federal judge in California ordered a halt to most family separations at the U.S. border and the reunification of all separated families. Judge Dana Sabraw of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California set a July 26 deadline for the government to return children to their parents. That deadline has not been met.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) calls for the U.S. government to respond responsibly and justly to the request of its people and the court order. As American Baptists, we take pride in being on the front lines of efforts to promote justice and protect civil liberties; we, therefore, demand answers about the process of reuniting these children with their parents.
We call our American Baptist churches to prayer for the families impacted by this policy and especially for the children who remain separated from their parents. But, we call our churches and brothers and sisters in Christ to take action as well. As American Baptists have done for more than a century, we will not remain silent as this government fails to protect the most vulnerable among us.
We encourage churches and individuals to take action today by engaging with U.S. representatives and senators about this injustice perpetrated by the U.S. government in the name of its people. Information about how to engage with Congress is provided by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.
In addition, ABHMS has been a signatory on letters to Congress regarding immigrant protections, and Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray has previously spoken out against migrant family separation.
On behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, ABHMS has established a One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) collection to help with legal aid for separated immigrant families. Send a check to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. Make the check payable to “One Great Hour of Sharing” and write “OGHS-Immigrant Children” in the memo line. Or, give online, designating “OHGS-Immigrant Children” in the Comments section.
Information about ABHMS’ Immigration and Refugee Ministries is available online at abhms.org > Ministries > Immigration and Refugee Resettlement.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.
One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.