United Methodist Women Statement

Families Belong Together, Indefinite Detention Unacceptable


Families Belong Together, Indefinite Detention Unacceptable
Families belong together.

The Administration's June 20 decision to stem the horrendous policy of separating children from their parents as their families seek refuge at the United States border reflects the outcry of people across the nation.  However, it does not guarantee the reunification of children already taken from their families, and it offers an unacceptable alternative of indefinite family detention.

United Methodist Women stands in our objection to the zero-tolerance policy that criminalizes families seeking asylum in our nation. 

The United Methodist Church Social Principles affirm that "we oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children ... " (Social Principles 162.H). The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that detaining a child on the basis of their, or their parents' migration status is a child rights violation. 

United Methodist Women urges the Administration to act immediately to reunite the 2,300 children separated from their parents under its zero-tolerance policy and to publicly verify the reunification of these families.  

We affirm current U.S. law under the "Flores" decision, which protects the welfare of immigrant children by limiting child detention to 3-5 days, or a maximum of 20 days in the "least restrictive" setting appropriate to their age and needs. We reject the June 20 Executive Order's proposal for action to suspend the "Flores" decision, as this would open the door to indefinite family detention.

These families have a legal right to apply for asylum, and this must be enforced. They should not be returned to situations of violence and potential death.  They must be released with their families intact and have legal support to pursue this application process.  This is an area where the faith community can play an important role, when we have access to support families. Together, we must guarantee them a fair chance remain in the U.S. safely, permanently, in regular status.

We continue to be vigilant in our commitment to a just immigration policy.  Proposed legislation that would build walls, spend billions more on enforcement, eliminate family visas and further criminalize migrants is not an acceptable trade-off to end family separation or family detention.

We are grateful to God for the people of good will around the country who publicly voiced their dismay at family separation policy.  We call on them to continue to use their powerful voices until every child is with their parent outside of detention, and until we have a humane and just immigration policy. 

Urge the Administration to reunite families now. Sign the Petition at Link opens in a new window. stopfamilyseparation.org

Posted or updated: 6/21/2018 12:00:00 AM

United Methodist Women Communications

Yvette Moore
Director of Communications and Marketing
phone: (212) 870-3822