News & Media

For Immediate Release: November 26, 2018
Contact: Erin Williams, ewilliams@faithinaction.org, 202-748-0699

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers fired tear gas canisters yesterday at asylum seekers, including women and children, near the San Ysidro, CA border crossing. The Reuters photo (below) of migrants fleeing the tear gas captures the insanity of the latest Trump-manufactured border crisis.

“There is clearly a disconnect between what the administration has said about asylum seekers and what we are seeing,” said Rev. Alvin Herring, Executive Director of Faith in Action. “The administration said the caravan was filled with bad people. But the images we are seeing is of the U.S. government tear-gassing children and their families. In the images we are seeing, the only aggressor is the U.S. government. In fact, things could get dramatically worse as thousands of U.S. soldiers are deployed to the border,” Herring said.

“These migrants fled their homelands to seek safety from violence and poverty, and forcing them to remain stranded in Mexico furthers the risk of danger,” said Richard Morales, Policy and Program Director of LA RED, Faith in Action’s immigration-focused campaign. “Migrants should always be treated with respect and dignity and not attacked with chemicals and weapons of war. A few hundred hungry, thirsty and tired human beings is not a national security threat. Every past caravan was resolved peacefully, and the actions by the U.S. government to target unarmed and defenseless families with violence is a perversion of everything this country stands,” Morales added.

“This administration continues reaching new lows. Border officials can hide behind words like “safety” and “protection” and “security” all they want in order to defend their actions, but it all adds up to one word: hate,” said Dinora Reyna, Lead Organizer at San Diego Organizing Project.  “In times like these I turn to Matthew 25: 35-36: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'” These are the values I was taught as an American and as a Catholic. Those aren’t the values of our administration. This action was a violation of the country’s values, and was senseless and inhumane.”

“What we witnessed yesterday at the San Diego Border was a clear display of state sponsored violence against migrants seeking refuge in a country that has historically provided safety for those fleeing hunger and violence,” said Johana Bencomo, Director of Organizing at NM Comunidades en Acción y de Fe (CAFé) in Las Cruces, NM. “Unarmed women, men, and children were gassed by an agency that has been out of control for years. For far too long we have normalized the militarization of our border communities and the Trump Administration is taking full advantage of this well funded machine and using it to further deny migrants their full humanity. We must continue to raise our voices and take back the narrative about our border communities and those who come to it to seek safety.”

Added Morales, “What’s worse is Trump’s apparent motive to create a ‘war’ against immigrants at the border in order to pressure Congress to approve tens of billions of dollars for his border wall. Congress must stop the Trump administration’s madness regarding immigrants, establish a safe and fair process for migrants seeking asylum, and stop the violence against all immigrants in the U.S.

“In addition to calling for cuts in funding for CBP and ICE, we urge all people of faith, members of our federations and the general public to call Congress at 1-844-332-6361 and tell lawmakers to follow the recent federal court order that migrants be allowed to apply for asylum and they be able to do so in a safe manner without threat of violence.”

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.



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