Immigration

United Methodist Women and United Methodist Leaders to Engage in President’s Day Prophetic Action “Not One More Deportation”

February 17, 2014, at the White House, Washington, D.C.

United Methodist Women and United Methodist Leaders to Engage in President’s Day Prophetic Action “Not One More Deportation”

By April 2014, the Obama Administration will have deported 2 million immigrants—more than any president in history.

United Methodist Women national leaders will join with United Methodist leaders of the United Methodist Church Task Force on Immigration, Church World Service, and immigrant day laborers of the National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network (NDLON) for a President’s Day prayer vigil and civil disobedience at the White House on February 17, 2014. The call is for President Obama to immediately end all detentions and deportations that divide families and criminalize migrants. This is an action the president can take regardless of the outcome of immigration reform debates in Congress.

United Methodist Women General Secretary Harriett Jane Olson, Assistant General Secretary Sung-ok Lee, Carol Barton, coordinator of the United Methodist Women Immigrant-Civil Rights Initiative and United Methodist Women leaders from Greater New Jersey and Baltimore Washington Conferences will join Bishops Julius Trimble and Minerva Carcaño, as well as representatives of the General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Communications, and other United Methodist Church Task Force on Immigration members in an act of prayerful civil disobedience at the White House. United Methodist Women members are invited to join the action in prayerful support, either in Washington, D.C., or across the country.

What Is the Concern?

  • Women, youth and children have been particularly impacted by deportation, as families are torn apart, mothers become single parents, youth are left to care for siblings, and children are left abandoned. Immigrants without documents need a process to regularize their status—something United Methodist Women is advocating for in Congress. But they should not be criminalized, jailed and deported, harming their families and livelihoods.
  • The New York Times notes that while President Obama can’t rewrite immigration laws, “he can control how well—or disastrously—they are enforced. ...The Obama administration has kept up a frantic pace of 400,000 deportations a year, and is closing in on 2 million. Those numbers are driven by politics, not public safety. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has wide discretion to determine whom it detains and deports. ...The deportation surge is fed by programs like Secure Communities, which does immigration checks on everyone arrested by local and state law enforcement, and Operation Streamline, in which border crossers in the Southwest are prosecuted en masse, with little access to legal representation. Mr. Obama turned the dragnet on, and can turn it off. In marches and vigils across the country, protesters have made one plea on deportations to Mr. Obama: ‘Not one more.’”
  • “While the debate over immigration reform rages in the halls of Congress, the moral and human rights crisis caused by the mass incarceration of immigrants has been largely ignored. 34,000 immigrants are subjected to inhumane detention every day.” This detention crisis would not end with immigration legislation, since current bills in Congress seek to intensify immigration enforcement policies—despite their having created a national crisis for immigrant families and their communities.
  • The #Not1More campaign of the National Day Laborer’s Network gathers immigrant families, people of faith, artists and activists to collectively challenge “unfair deportations and inequality through organizing, art, legislation, and action, (working to) reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion. #Not1More accompanies and galvanizes the determination of millions of immigrants who have endured suffering and now are exercising the right to remain in the place they call home. Together we say: not one more family destroyed, not one more day without equality, not one more indifferent reaction to suffering, not one more deportation.”

United Methodist Church Position

The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, 2012, proclaims that, “In the face of these unjust laws and the systematic deportation of migrants instituted by the Department of Homeland Security, God's people must stand in solidarity with the migrants in our midst…. Due to these raids and the ensuing indefinite detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart and the migrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear…. To refuse to welcome migrants to this country—and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the United States is demonized by members of Congress and the media—is complicity to sin.” United Methodists are urged to “call on the United States government to immediately cease all arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.” (“Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.,” The Book of Resolutions, 2012, #3281)

Why Civil Disobedience?

  • United Methodist leaders have met with the White House on several occasions to raise concerns about the Administration’s deportation policies, with little or no response. The White House feels it can convince Congress to pass immigration reform if it shows the Administration is strong on enforcement. This has not achieved just immigration reform but has meant unprecedented numbers of deportations.
  • We need a powerful public witness by faith leaders to let the White House know that this is a moral issue and a national crisis. It is wrong to jail and deport immigrants due to their immigration status. It is wrong to raid churches and schools and workplaces and haul away members of our communities.
  • We are led by immigrant communities themselves, who are saying they are no longer afraid and need to speak up loudly against current deportation policy. They have asked for the support of faith leaders in this act of civil disobedience.
  • The United Methodist Social Principles (2012, #164 V.f) states that “we recognize the right of individuals to dissent when acting under the constraint of conscience and, after having exhausted all legal recourse, to resist or disobey laws that they deem to be unjust or that are discriminately enforced.”

Posted or updated: 2/12/2014 11:00:00 PM

How Can United Methodist Women Members Get Involved?

Join the Prophetic Action in Washington, D.C., on February 17. You do not need to engage in civil disobedience. You can participate in the prayer vigil and support church leaders in prayer. Contact Carol Barton, cbarton@unitedmethodistwomen.org; 212-682-3633 x3104.

Join us on February 17 by praying for immigrant leaders and faith leaders who will be getting arrested at the White House. Let us know of your prayers and support.

The Kneel-in will be live streamed starting at Noon Today; watch online at unitedmethodistwomen.org.

Help spread the word about deportations and United Methodist Women’s call for #Not1More through social media. Watch United Methodist Women’s Facebook and Twitter for updates to share.

Support immigrant communities to call for #Not1More, including prayer vigils and civil disobedience in your community. See www.notonemoredeportation.com or contact Carol Barton for local information. Find individual stories to share at: www.notonemoredeportation.com or screen Jasmine’s Story.

Build a United Methodist Women immigrant rights action network in your conference. Contact your conference president, social action coordinator, or Carol Barton to consider next steps.

Share this Action Alert via social media; find icons in the grey bar at the bottom of your browser window.

PDF Download a PDF version to print or e-mail to your contacts.

Wednesday, February 19: Every day 1100 people are deported; be one of 1100 calls to the White House asking President Obama to stop the deportations.

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