Our outpouring of compassion will vanquish moral bankruptcy

Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, AZ. (photo: Ross Franklin / AP Photo)

So many of us are deeply wounded by Trump’s immigration policies and what they reflect about our less welcoming, more calloused new national norm.

By Daniel Weiner | The Seattle Times | Jun 20, 2018


To deliberately subvert divinely inspired ideas to absolve the inhumanity of imprisoning children, or to glean political advantage to enact even more draconian measures against the most vulnerable, crosses some kind of unseen line . . . .


Many have marveled at the citing of sacred texts to support even the most heinous of thoughts and acts. Others still have struggled to understand the mind and heart that could do such damage to holy writ. And people of faith take unique exception to the mangling of words that bind them to God.

And so, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on rooting an immigration policy of family separation in the holy justification of biblical texts, faith communities across the ideological spectrum united in opposition to a perversion that defied even our most jaded expectations for this administration’s chutzpah.

The outrage goes beyond the gall of employing a text as cover for a policy that embodies the very inverse of its meaning, or omitting the myriad expressions of compassion and welcome that represent the fullness of the Bible.

Continue reading “Our outpouring of compassion will vanquish moral bankruptcy”

Vigil: Prayer and Procession for Families at the Border (Tonight)

(photo: inmediahk.net)

Please join our brothers and sisters for a prayerful vigil and procession from St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral to St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral, beginning tonight at 7:00 pm.

Date: Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
1245 10th Ave East
Seattle
Information: Event information here →
Event Details

As people of faith, we stand in solidarity with all the migrants and asylum-seekers who come to our borders, fleeing violence or simply seeking a better life for their families. We protest the inhumane separation of children from their parents. We urge our government to allow victims of domestic violence and gang violence to seek asylum in this country. This will be an opportunity to gather together for prayer, and to bring our prayerful witness to the streets of our city.

More information here →

450 elderly immigrants will be displaced by US embassy move to Jerusalem

9551056-3x2-700x467
The former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the United States consular compound in Arnona area of Jerusalem, is built on disputed territory. (photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The US Embassy move to Jerusalem will cause 450 elderly immigrants to lose their homes, and the Knesset doesn’t have a solution yet.

By Avichai Scher | Forward | Mar 21, 2018


“There are only two years left to create a practical and fair solution, and today we hear again from the Ministry of Immigration that they still have no solutions. . . . We have lost too much time, but we will not wait any longer. The issue of Diplomat Hotel and its tenants must be solved immediately.”
— Ksenia Svetlova, Zionist Union member of Knesset


The Diplomat Hotel, which is owned by the US and is located next door to the Jerusalem consulate that will become the embassy in 2020, is being leased as housing for elderly immigrants. But the building is slated to become part of the embassy, forcing the residents to find other housing.

At a heated discussion at the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday, Ksenia Svetlova of the left-wing Zionist Union blasted the committee for not moving quickly enough to find a solution for the residents.

Continue reading “450 elderly immigrants will be displaced by US embassy move to Jerusalem”

You don’t need Jewish values to denounce Israel’s treatment of asylum seekers

gettyimages-908744180-1517954239
African asylum seekers protest outside Rwandan embassy in Herzliya. (photo: AFP)

When it comes to both asylum seekers and West Bank Palestinians, we don’t need a higher, Jewish standard. Simply asking Israel to abide by International Law is radical enough.

By Peter Beinart | Forward | Feb 7, 2018


In 2015 . . . less than two percent of Sudanese asylum requests had even received a government response. Not a single one had been approved. Of the more than 2,400 Eritreans who requested asylum, the Israeli government granted it to four.


Last week, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times’ estimable Israel correspondent, wrote an article about the Netanyahu government’s decision to either expel Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries or indefinitely lock them up. The article ran under the headline, “Israel Moves to Expel Africans. Critics Say That’s Not Jewish.”

“Like much of the Western world, Israel is grappling with how to balance its right to protect its borders and prevent illegal immigration with showing compassion and humanity,” writes Kershner. “But the government’s decision has struck a particular chord here and among Jews abroad since the modern state of Israel has served as a safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution.”

Kershner goes on to say that many Jews believe the government’s decision violates “Jewish values.” She suggests that “Even secular Israelis have taken to citing biblical verses like Leviticus 19:34: ‘The stranger who resides among you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’”

There’s a danger here. Continue reading “You don’t need Jewish values to denounce Israel’s treatment of asylum seekers”

Detained Afghan family bound for Washington State

468367f4-02df-11e7-80be-61b8a05182c0-1536x1094
Attorney Robert Blume, who represents the family, speaking to reporters in Los Angeles. (photo: Nick Ut / AP)

Government officials said the family members were given back their passports and visas and will be interviewed April 5 in Seattle to determine if they are eligible to use those visas to remain in the United States.

By Amy Taxin / The Associated Press via The Seattle Times
March 6, 2017


“It is a victory in a battle that shouldn’t have been fought. The government swung and missed on this issue, and they just got it wrong.”
— Attorney Robert Blume


An Afghan family of five who traveled to the United States on special visas and were detained by immigration officials at the Los Angeles airport were released from custody Monday, according to the U.S. government and the family’s attorneys.

The mother, father and their three young sons, including a baby, arrived at the airport Thursday for a connecting flight to Washington state, where they planned to resettle.

Instead, U.S. immigration officials detained them and split them up. They planned to send the mother and children to a detention center in Texas, but lawyers intervened over the weekend and got a federal judge to quash the transfer.

Homeland Security officials haven’t said why the family was held, while immigrant advocates asserted in a court petition that there was “absolutely no justification whatsoever.”

Continue reading “Detained Afghan family bound for Washington State”

A Letter to President Trump

4d225c419032f10fe242fd0c57ea5d36

The following letter by forty-eight US university presidents and chancellors was sent to President Trump on February 2, 2017.

By Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Lee C. Bollinger, Robert A. Brown, Robert L. Barchi, and Ronald J. Daniels, et al. / The New York Review of Books
March 9, 2017


Throughout its history America has been a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom in the world. It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. This executive order is dimming the lamp of liberty and staining the country’s reputation. We respectfully urge you to rectify the damage done by this order.


President Donald J. Trump
The White House
United States of America

Dear President Trump:

We write as presidents of leading American colleges and universities to urge you to rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country’s borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world. If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.

The order specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses. American higher education has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity, and enriched our culture. Many who have returned to their own countries have taken with them the values that are the lifeblood of our democracy. America’s educational, scientific, economic, and artistic leadership depends upon our continued ability to attract the extraordinary people who for many generations have come to this country in search of freedom and a better life.

Continue reading “A Letter to President Trump”

Afghan Family, Visas in Hand, Detained in Los Angeles

rtxyysg
Los Angeles International Airport (photo: Patrick T. Fallon / Reuters)

An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the U.S. government was detained after flying into Los Angeles, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed Saturday.

By Nicholas Kulish / The New York Times via The Seattle Times
March 5, 2017


“I’ve never, ever heard of this happening. They go through so many layers of security clearance, including one right before they get on the plane.”
— Becca Heller, Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project


An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the U.S. government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed Saturday.

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Saturday evening issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the mother and children from being transferred out of the state. The order, by Judge Josephine L. Staton of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, arrived as they were about to be put on a plane to Texas, most likely bound for a family detention center there, lawyers said.

The scene at the airport was “chaotic, panicked, it was a mess,” said Lali Madduri, a lawyer with the firm Gibson Dunn, which is representing the family pro bono. “The whole time the children are crying, the woman is crying. They can’t understand what’s going on.”

Continue reading “Afghan Family, Visas in Hand, Detained in Los Angeles”

A 5-year-old with PTSD: the reality of deportation policies

BORDER CHILDREN
(image: Nancy Ohanian / Op-Art)

I have seen firsthand the devastating impact our current immigration policy has on the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of my patients and their children.

By Michael McNeil / The Seattle Times
February 24, 2017


These children suffer developmentally and educationally. They cannot access basic services such as early intervention, meal assistance or other government programs because their parents fear detection and deportation, even though a large proportion of these children are actually born in the United States and qualify for these programs.


You may have read about the deportation of a woman who had been living in Arizona for more than 20 years. She was well known to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and had been compliant in her regular check-ins. Left in the wake of her deportation are her husband and two children. My place as a pediatrics resident is not to argue the legality of our immigration policy. However, I can discuss the impact that these policies and procedures have on the children who pay the consequences of our current system.

I work at a health clinic in South Seattle, where the majority of patients are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Recently, I had a 5-year-old come to my office whose mother was complaining that he was urinating on himself at home and at school. She also reported episodes of inconsolable crying and outbursts of rage, including kicking and punching other children. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that all of his symptoms started the week after his father was arrested in front of him and deported to Mexico. I was diagnosing a 5-year old with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Continue reading “A 5-year-old with PTSD: the reality of deportation policies”