The Trinity Mennonite Church Peace and Justice Team is a group of committed Christ followers who have agreed to educate themselves on issues of peace and justice, both near to home and around the world, and to keep those issues in front of us as a congregation.
In addition to helping us better understand the issues, this group will organize opportunities for all of us to take action and get involved.
From time to time, the Peace and Justice Team will issue a position statement on current issues facing us as a church. We recognize that our congregation is made up of many people with a diversity of views on any given topic. Therefore, these statements do not represent the position or viewpoint/s of Trinity Mennonite Church as a whole or of all of its members. It does serve, however, as a beginning point of lively discussion as we seek to understand one another and learn from each other's points of view.
If you would like to participate with the Peace and Justice Team or find ways to get involved, please contact Leroy Willems for more information.
Position Statement on the Current Immigration Humanitarian Crises
In a matter of months, more than 50,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the United States. In addition to these unaccompanied children there are young adults and mothers with children, some as young as 2 years old, who are also a part of this influx of immigrants/refugees. Some experts estimate if the current rate of influx continues, by October, 2014 this number will be close to 90,000. Many of these immigrants/refugees are from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador but the untold story is they really come from all over the world.
Children are vulnerable even in the best of circumstances and warrant special protection beyond that offered to adults. This vulnerability is compounded among children who flee situations of criminal gangs, sexual violence, trauma, and extreme poverty without their parents to accompany them.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act [TVPRA] as authorized in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012 states that except for children from Mexico and Canada these immigrants/refugees must have a hearing before a judge to determine if they are eligible for any of a variety of visas or refugee status or can be safely returned to their country of origin. Currently there are over 350,000 cases waiting to be heard which will take 2-3 years. This has created the current immediate humanitarian crises but really is part of the much larger immigration issue begging for creative solution[s].
As our nation responds to this humanitarian crisis, we are thankful for laws that protect children and provide for their needs. While our systems are currently stretched and overwhelmed, our laws uphold basic child protection principles.
We as Anabaptist Christians believe we are guided by Jesus admonition to welcome and protect children and the stranger among us [Matthew 18:6; 25:34-46, Mark 9:37, Luke 18:15-17]. As members of a community of believers we are committed to partner with the federal government in serving these children and families in the US by providing the necessary assistance and care to address their needs by partnering with the “Restoration Project, Phoenix” and other faith based groups who are working to provide assistance to those immigrants/refugees in Arizona waiting final processing.
We share the concern of our fellow citizens regarding maintaining and strengthening the integrity of our national borders. Therefore we urge the leaders of our country to move swiftly to provide the necessary resources and policy guidance to address the current crisis and uphold the laws of our nation regarding immigration without amendments. We also urge them to support comprehensive immigration reform legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship, reunites and strengthens families, and does NOT further militarize the border.