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News & Media

For Immediate Release: August 21, 2019

Contact: Heather Cabral, heather@westendstrategy.com, 202-550-6880

Erin Williams, ewilliams@faithinaction.org, 202-748-0699

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Trump Administration announced that starting in 60 days, migrant children who are separated from their families following detention  at the border can be held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention indefinitely. The current legal limit for holding a child in custody is 20 days. Leaders with Faith in Action, the nation’s largest faith-based grassroots organization in the country, are in the middle of a four-state, 280-mile Solidarity Walk for Immigrant Justice that will end Saturday at an ICE detention center in Dover, New Hampshire. Faith in Action executive director Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Essex County Community Organization Dr. Alexandra Piñeros Shields, and Rabbi Margie Klein Ronkin, director of clergy and leadership development for Faith in Action’s Massachusetts-based federation Essex County Community Organization (ECCO), issued the following responses.

“This administration announced its latest attack on immigrant families  and children, underscoring its blatant disregard for human life. As people of faith, we will not stand by and watch. As we finish out this march we will continue to call for an end to this moral crisis and will not stop until it ends. In ICE and CBP custody, young children have been sick, starved, and subject to cruel behavior and inhumane conditions. They are all God’s children and we’ll fight to protect them. said Rev. Herring.

“Six children have already died due to unfit conditions in these facilities and we’ll continue to stand strong with black and brown immigrants and demand an end to these cruel practices and violence against them.  

“This policy is a Hilul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name. Our president has passed a policy that will take our children, our holiest promise for the future, and keep them indefinitely in captivity. It will tear apart families and destroy communities,” said Ronkin.

“In the Torah, more than any other commandment, we are called upon to love immigrants and not to oppress them. Our history as strangers in Egypt and later as immigrants and refugees in many lands has been a key motivator toward compassion and collective responsibility. And here in America, so many of us are descended from immigrants and should feel this compassion, too. This heartless policy flies in the face of who we should be as a nation. Our country needs moral leadership not cruel detention and deportation of children. We are demanding immediate protection for immigrants – ending detention and deportation – and cutting funds for ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”  

“The consequence of today’s decision means that we will see the indefinite imprisonment of children,” said Dr. Shields. Since over 70 percent of detention centers are for profit, multi national companies will be making profit off the bodies of toddlers,  pre-schoolers, and elementary age children. What does it mean to use children’s bodies for profit? We have lost our moral compass.”

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.

Faith in Action is a 501c(3).  Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) is a diverse network of congregations and organizations across the North Shore of Massachusetts building relationships and power to put human dignity at the center of public life. By uniting congregations across race, class, and faith, we transform systems and policies to build a future where everyone matters, where all our voices count, where we can all have hope of a good life. For more information, visit www.eccoaction.org.

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