Episcopalians gather in public witness outside immigrant detention center

By Lynette Wilson
Posted Jul 8, 2018

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached a sermon of “love God, love neighbor” to more than 1,000 people during a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a detention facility in Taylor, Texas, housing 500 female non-U.S. citizens awaiting the outcome of their immigration status. Photo: Frank Logue

[Episcopal News Service – Taylor, Texas] A thousand Episcopalians, at least two for every one female incarcerated at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in rural Texas, stood under the blistering sun July 8 in public witness to the actions of the U.S. government in its enforcement of immigration policies that have separated families over the last couple of months and have led to roundups and deportations of migrants.

“We do not come in hatred, we do not come in bigotry, we do not come to put anybody down, we come to lift everybody up. We come in love. We come in love because we follow Jesus, and Jesus taught us love,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in his sermon during the noontime Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice held in sight of the detention facility here.

“Love the Lord your god and love your neighbor,” Curry said, and his list of neighbors included liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Independent, the neighbor one likes and the neighbor one doesn’t like, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Palestinian, Israeli, refugee, immigrant and prison guard. “Love your neighbor,” Curry shouted, as the crowd responded “yes.”

“We come in love,” he said.

An planning team including people from the Diocese of Texas and local congregations, including St. James’, here in Taylor, led by the Rev. Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street, New York, and the Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York, organized the prayer service in partnership with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based nonprofit organization that works for a more just society by challenging the for-profit prison system and mass incarceration, deportation and criminalization of migrants.

Nineteen buses transported more than 1,000 Episcopalians from the Austin Convention Center to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a 40-minute drive from Austin. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention is underway in Austin through July 13. The U.S. immigration debate and the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy loomed large the previous day in a joint legislative committee hearing, where some 25 people testified on issues that included providing sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation, condemning the separation of migrant families, supporting Haitians who are poised to face deportation, and calling for permanent legal status to Deferred Action for Child Arrivals recipients through federal legislation known as the DREAM Act.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, left, and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, right, tell the gathered crowd to turn toward the detention facility. The Rev. Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York, and one of the event organizers, shares the platform. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies delayed by one hour the start of their July 8 legislative sessions so that the presiding officers and more than 1,000 Episcopalians who were transported by 19 buses could attend the prayer service near the privately operated detention center, housing 500 females in rural Texas about 40 minutes’ drive from Austin.

Standing just outside the detention center’s chain-link fence, Taylor community members Jose Orta and Audrey Amos-McGehee held a sign that read, “End immigrant detention in our nation of immigrants.” In 2006, the T. Don Hutto Center was converted from a medium-security prison to a family detention center, and then in 2009 to a for-profit detention center housing migrant women, some of whom have been separated from their children, Orta said in an interview with Episcopal News Service.

Although there long have been issues with the broken U.S. immigration system, the announcement in April that the Trump administration would begin criminally prosecuting migrants and separating children from their parents while they undergo deportation hearings has called American citizens to advocate for family unification and reunification.

Taylor, Texas, community members Audrey Amos-McGehee and Jose Orta hold a sign near the T. Don Hutto Center that reads, “End immigrant detention in our nation of immigrants.” Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

In some cases, it has been a call to advocate for just policies at the national level. In other cases it has meant taking to the streets and bearing prayerful witness, as Episcopalians did outside Hutto.

“I think, frankly, what we’re doing, we’re expressing what most Americans feel. We are horrified by the current state of things. I think most of us cannot imagine how we can make it visible. I think we are afraid to talk our neighbors, we are afraid our friends disagree with us, we are afraid to cause insult. So when we started to do this, we thought we’d get 150, 200 people. We have more than 1,000 just on the buses,” said Varghese, who is also a deputy representing the Diocese of New York.

“Part of what we are seeing is our solidarity with each other and that there’s a great voice in opposition to what is happening in our country, and it’s us,” Varghese said. “It’s among us, and the reason to do things like this is to give people an opportunity to be their best selves.”

Jesus stood with vulnerable people, so the church stands with vulnerable people, said the Rev. Melanie Mullen, director of reconciliation, justice and creation care for the Episcopal Church.

“We want to walk in the way of love and accompaniment with our most vulnerable sisters in suffering,” she said. “We are going to do this across the country wherever people are victimized. … Jesus first said, ‘Suffer the little children unto me’; that’s our first call, to stand with the poor, the victimized, the most fragile. The presiding bishop told us to walk in the way of love; it gives us strength to come here and say we can face this together.”

Immigration in the United States, as in other countries, is disorganized, said El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado, in an interview with ENS following the prayer of witness.

El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado, left, and the Rev. Tommy Dillon, an alternate from the Diocese of Louisiana and a longtime supporter of the Anglican-Episcopal Church of El Salvador, hold up a sigh of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated for his social justice work while standing behind the altar. Romero is designated for sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

“To be a migrant,” he said, is treated like a crime, when in reality, migrants are fleeing violence and looking not only for opportunity but also for refuge and salvation. In Central America’s Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – people are fleeing social conflict.

“It’s affecting many people; there’s a lot of forced displacement,” said Alvarado, adding that between 60 and 70 people flee El Salvador daily, some of them staying in Guatemala and Mexico, and others making their way to the U.S. border.

Episcopalians gathered between two baseball diamonds – the permitted gathering place – to hold a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

As the prayer was happening, an 11-member Salvadoran family was trying to cross the border, and one of the family members was texting their status to Elmer Romero, a Salvadoran-born member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston and a board member of Cristosal, a human rights organization providing assistance to Central Americans who have been forcibly displaced by violence. Cristosal began more than a decade ago as an Episcopal ministry.

During the Prayers of the People, Texas Assistant Bishop Hector Monterroso and Central New York Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe prayed for the termination of violence, poverty and displacement, and for leaders to implement policies that both protect national security and that lead to safe migration and the end of detention for asylum seekers.

They prayed for children separated from parents and parents separated from children.

“Today is my son’s birthday, and if he had ever been taken from me, I don’t know what I would have done … just because I was trying to bring him somewhere where he could have liberty, where he could have a life,” said Sandra Montes, a music director from the Diocese of Texas who led music at the prayer and sang the day before at the July 7 revival.

“For me, it’s very important that these women [know we are here],” Montes said. “I cannot even put into words the desperation I would feel if I were in there and my child were somewhere else. Or even if he was with me just because we want something better, we’re looking for freedom.”

“We do not come in hatred, we do not come in bigotry, we do not come to put anybody down. We come to lift everybody up. We come in love,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered in prayer at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas. Photo: Frank Logue

In a Twitter post following the prayer service, Grassroots Leadership posted that the women in the detention center were crying, just knowing they are not alone. Not leaving anyone alone is at the core of loving one’s neighbor and following Jesus’ teachings, Curry said.

“Jesus said, ‘Love God and love your neighbor.’ We come in love, that is the core of our faith, that is the heart of it,” said Curry.

“The way of love calls for us to be humanitarian, it calls for us to care for those who have no one to care for them, and we come because we don’t believe that a great nation like this one separates children from their families.

“We come because we believe that this nation, conceived in liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal, we believe that we must call this nation, America, back to its very soul. We are here because we love this nation. Because if you really love somebody, you don’t leave ’em the way they are, you help them to become their best selves. We are here to save the soul of America.”

— Lynette Wilson is a reporter and managing editor of Episcopal News Service.


Comments (57)

  1. PJ Cabbiness says:

    To enter the country illegally is and should be a crime and enforcement of our immigration laws is necessary. When will the Church seek justice and comfort for those families who have been victims of violent crime? I think I know the answer. Never. When will the Church stand up against the illegal drug trafficking and human trafficking associated with illegal immigration? Again, the answer is the same. Never.

    1. Randy Marks says:

      Many of those the Administration has detained are asylum seekers fleeing violence and oppression (like the Holy Family fled into Egypt); they are not illegals. I might have more sympathy for calls for stopping illegal immigrants if the President actually obeyed the law and treated asylum seekers and other legal immigrants with respect and took the deal he proposed and Democrats agreed to (the Wall for legalizing the innocent dreamers). The Church is following Jesus’ command to love our neighbors and I’m proud that our leaders staged the rally. I’m sad we disagree.

    2. Arthur K. Sudler says:

      To PJ Cabbiness, I invite you to listen to Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry’s sermons (either on YouTube or on the Livestream link for the 2018 General Convention of the Episcopal Church) and you will hear for yourself a message of love that encompasses all people – victims and perpetrators. Knowing Jesus Christ – and acting in love – means working to comfort/heal/support all victims of evil/oppression and to challenge/convert all perpetrators of evil/oppression. May you feel God’s transforming love as we seek to do God’s will. peace

    3. Jim hunter says:

      I am soooo sick of all the sad stories of the poor “ILLEGAL “key word here is illegal with kids being separated : keep your nose clean folow the laws of the U. S. and you won’t be

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        Really? You have no compassion for these children just because their parents may have crossed the border illegally (which is a misdemeanor, not a felony)? What about those who are seeking legal asylum in our country? Do you really think that is in keeping with the teaching of Jesus?

  2. Nurya Parish says:

    In paragraph five, please correct the title and spelling of the Rev. Megan Castellan, a priest of the church whom I believe initiated the development of this liturgy.

  3. David Benedict says:

    Amen to Randy Marks comments. We must help fleeing people as refugees from mortal violence to find justice and equality at our borders. We must stand with them as was done at T. Don Hutto Detention Center, with the love of Christ in our hearts and ready hands and feet to walk in faithful support of their lives.

    1. Kenneth Johnson says:

      If they were seeking asylum why didn’t they stay in Mexico.

  4. Rev. Dr. James Hargis says:

    Do you really think this will help anything/anyone? I don’t. It’s a futile attempt to be relevant. It promotes division/separation, not recociliation/healing. Stay out of politics, lest you alienate your flock.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      This isn’t about relevancy. It’s about standing up for what is right. Separating children from the parents of migrants is wrong, and has been condemned not only by our church but also be the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. It says more about our nation’s culture than it does about our church that ripping apart families is seen as a partisan issue and not a moral issue.

    2. Ken Alexander says:

      You mean, stay out of politics just like the right-wing evangelicals are doing?

      Truth is, if we want to follow Jesus we might be required to be “divisive” on occasion. You may recall that dust-up he had with the Pharisees and Sadducees.

      1. John Hobart says:

        The Pharisees and Sadducees were partisans like the Republicans and Democrats. I’m sure that Jesus’ critical attitude is applicable to all of them.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          While critical of their hypocrisy, Jesus was also most likely a Pharisee himself, so if those groups were partisans, Jesus clearly leaned towards a specific party.

          1. John Hobart says:

            Matt, do you have a reference for that? I have heard that before but there doesn’t seem to be any basis for it in scripture and I don’t think Meier finds any basis for it in his A Marginal Jew series of books on the historical Jesus, so I have always suspected that it was one of those Borg/Crossan sort of speculative claims.

  5. Linda Gelbrich says:

    To the Rev. Dr. James Hargis – I wonder what would have been the outcome if Jesus would have avoided the risky business of standing with the oppressed and outcasts, being concerned that it might alienate people or be seen as political. Perhaps not all are called to respond to imprisoned immigrants and refugees in this way, but for those who are called, it is at least one concrete way to show love and to hopefully become part of an unstoppable tidal force of compassion.

  6. Roger Hamilton says:

    I wish folks would not call them migrants … that grants them some degree of legitimacy … they are illegal aliens until naturalized. That’s the fact.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      No, they are migrants. Many of them are seeking legal asylum in the United States. They are not the same as illegal and undocumented immigrants.

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        “Many” is not “all.’ Make no confusion about this. The immigrants attempt to come to the USA for various reasons.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          Yes, immigration is complicated, which is why it is imprudent and uncharitable to paint all immigrants as illegals. We need to show some compassion on this issue.

          1. Frank Harrision says:

            Not all non-citizens of the USA attempting to come into this country are “good” and worthy of moral respect. There are the drug dealers, the rapists, the child molesters, those selling children into sex slavery, those who want a better material life (not a safer life), and so on. Even if these are “the few,” to speak of the few is not to speak of the totality. On the other hand, realizing and admitting the few is enough for us to realize and admit that blanket statements and suggestions concerning immigration and those immigrating can be safely made. To do so is basically “emotional nonsense.”

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            It is problematic when the few are used to stereotype and malign the majority who do not belong to either of those categories. We should not be writing our immigration policy solely on the basis of the few bad apples which our country already does a decent job of screening out.

    2. Nancy Jordan says:

      They have “legitimacy” because they are our fellow human beings and children of God!

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        Rapists, child molesters, serial killers, etc. are also human beings and, thus, children of God. Assuming this, following your comment, do we have the same charitable attitudes towards these people as we do toward the saintly? There are moral/social/political difficulties here. What are your views?

  7. Greg Garrett says:

    I am grateful to Winnie, Megan, the Presiding Bishop, and all who participated for standing in witness for love and against injustice. Had I been in Texas I would have joined them! Yes, this is a political statement, but it’s a political statement solidly backed by theology, by the many verses in the Bible about the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the alien, and by the teachings of our Church for decades. MLK said that any church that didn’t involve itself in the real work of real life would become an irrelevant social club, and while some may be content with a social club, what the world needs–and needs to see revealed–is a dynamic, living Church.

  8. Hugh Hansen, Ph.D. says:

    Not backed by Paul’s theology. Paul upheld and supported both Jewish and Roman law. This church has become a tool of liberal politics.

    1. Ken Alexander says:

      If Paul supported Roman law then he must have supported their right to crucify Jesus, which makes his position a tricky to justify, I would think.

    2. Frank Harrision says:

      I do believe that you are correct. Yet, many in the Episcopal Church do not realize this. To make “matters more interesting” this is often coupled with a contemporary version of “Social Gospel” of the late eighteen hundreds. Finally. all of this is then packaged in a particular reading of Scripture. Justifying this? There is little of that other than the sort of circular self-justification as exemplified in “my” reading of Scripture and “my” understanding of “whatever.”

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        What do you have to say to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Southern Baptist Convention, who have also condemned this policy? Are they tools of liberal politics, too?

        1. Frank Harrision says:

          First, within the present conversation, to speak of the Roman Catholics, etc is a red herring distracting us from the core of our conversation concerning the Episcopal Church, Second, whilst I do not know the answer to your red herring question, give our day I would say “perhaps.”

          1. Matt Ouellette says:

            How is it a red herring? I raised it as evidence that this issue is not a partisan, left vs. right issue, since there are other faith groups, including those which lean right on a number of positions, also condemning it.

          2. Frank Harrison says:

            Dear matt — I used red herring” because whilst your comments concerning the RC church are generally in keeping with the conversation concerning the Episcopal church, they were not specifically related to what the EC is about and why, and THAT was the topic of conversation as I understood it. Pardon me if I misunderstood you — quite likely. I can understand you looking for evidence for you position in other areas than that of the Episcopal Church But, that seems to be another matter. Too bad we cannot sit down face-to-face with a glass of something and had a real chat.

          3. Matt Ouellette says:

            Yes, the internet can make it communication, and understanding one another, difficult at times. I’m glad you are able to see where I am coming from, at least.

      2. Ken Alexander says:

        As opposed to “your” reading of Scripture and “your” understanding of “whatever”, which I presume you regard as infallible. Must be good to be Pope.

        1. Frank Harrision says:

          I hardly regard myself as infallible if your comments were directed to me. Indeed, I well realize that I may be wrong in my opinions, Indeed, anyone may be wrong in his or her opinions. To think otherwise is the worse sort of hubris. The fact of the matter is that there are disagreements. Such disagreements are neither clarified nor solved by shouting at one another, by emotional jabs, or the like. (For instance, I am certainly not the Pope.) That sort of activity merely makes things darker and more difficult to resolve, saying far more about the person making the charges than the person against whom the charges are made. Pax

    3. Margaret Durocher says:

      Um, I’m a Christian, following Christ. Not a Paulist, following Paul.

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        Under whose interpretation of “Christian” for there are many?

  9. Dr Billy Beets says:

    The core problem too me is an all or nothing attitude. No children should not be separated, no people shouldn’t be detained indefinitely. But, yes we should educate those in countries coming here illegally there is a better way. Go to the asylum entries, follow the procedures. Educate that the coyotes are in it fir the money. They don’t care about the people they are smuggling in. No food no water crime etc. Follow the path so many millions before you did. Then I’m in favor of come one come all. Do it right!

    1. Frank Harrision says:

      Yes, the Devil (or is it God?) is in the details. But, “the details” are difficult and “we” do not want to talk about them. Just let “me” have vast, sweeping, nice sounding generalizations! (Of course, the is a very wrong path to follow.)

  10. Ron Davin says:

    Was it uncontrolled immigration that caused the fall of the Ancient Roman Empire ?

    1. Frank Harrision says:

      The causes of the fall of the Roman Empire are many and complicated. But one of them does seem to be the seeking of non-Romans to become part of the Roman army to protect the Roman empire against non-Romans. IF this IS the case, then, yes, uncontrolled immigration, indeed invited immigration, was one of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        Your example, to me, sounds more like uncontrolled militarism was the issue, not immigration.

        1. Frank Harrision says:

          Dear Matt, You certainly have a good point. On the other hand, remember that serving in the Roman army was a way to citizenship. The Roman Empire became an ever more disjointed collection of varying traditions, histories, life-views, and the like. It can be argued that, in the end, all of this simply imploded, the last Roman Emperor was sent away and the “Germans” tool over. While this event can be dated, I doubt that many “people in the street” were much aware of it.

  11. John Hobart says:

    I don’t know much about immigration policy and it has become such a hateful, partisan issue that most people, including Episcopalians, are incapable of holding a calm and rational discussion of the topic. I don’t know anyone who favors completely open or closed borders, so a solution that is acceptable to large enough segment of the voting public must lie somewhere between those extremes. Self-righteous moral posturing on either side by any denomination doesn’t help us resolve the conflict.

  12. The Rev. Dr. Linda M. Maloney says:

    1. Human beings are not “aliens” as if from another planet.
    2. The United States is in violation of its own laws and of international law by imprisoning and deporting without due process those who come seeking asylum, fearing death or worse for themselves and their children. A large part of the problem in Central America results from the U.S. having deported gang members in the 1980s-90s; there was no thought of helping their home countries to rehabilitate or educate or retrain them if they were willing, or to imprison them if they were not, and so they continue to ply their trade. We deported 4,000; there are now an estimated 60,000 — NOT HERE, but there.
    3. What does it say about the attitude of the current administration that it is seeking means to deport naturalized citizens of the United States?

    1. Ann Ely says:

      Thank you, Linda, for your comments and I agree. I was at the Prayer service held outside the detention center. I was there to protest how the United States is treating people crossing the border. Separating children from their parents is inhumane and all of these children will be marked in a negative psychological way by their experiences, especially young children and babies. There needs to more civilized ways to protect our southern border.

  13. cynthia seddon says:

    The US is not responsible for educating other governments. Dr Beets is right, there is a correct way to apply for asylum etc,no country can possibly accomodate the massive influx we have at the border. The government is doing its best, many are being housed and fed better than they
    were. Reason needs to come into play.Families know there is a possibility they will be separated at the border,yet they still come.As to the Holy Family, they were fleeing at the angels warning,so that the plan of God would be fulfilled.

    1. Frank Harrision says:

      You say, “Reason needs to come into play” as I have been saying, one way or another in all of my postings. Alas, in the post-modern world reason is jettisoned and emotions take over. I could present some serious lectures on this beginning with Marx. But, that is a story for another day —

  14. Scott Glidden says:

    Good job fellow churchmen!

  15. Ronald Davin says:

    I understand what the Church wants others to do, i.e. the government,
    but what efforts and investments is the Church willing to make ?

  16. cynthia seddon says:

    You have a good point. I have another suggestion. All those who stood at the border holding up signs should take one illegal family, and support them until they have been through due process. Also,guarantee that they will show up for their court hearing.We still need to emphasize the need to enter the USA by applying legally as thousands of others have, many waiting months to be accepted,and paying their dues .Many churches already provide a great deal of help to the migrants in their community.

    1. Bill Louis says:

      I support your idea. Wonder how many would be protesting if that was a requirement?

    2. Matt Ouellette says:

      I don’t know about individual families (not everyone who protests the immoral immigration policies of our country can afford to host families on their own), but regarding church communities, that is already happening as you already noted.

  17. karen Hanson says:

    I just have to note that it is NOT ILLEGAL to seek asylum in the U.S. The seeking of asylum has been going on for years and there has been a legal process for such people. These new policies are illegal, not those mothers and children seeking asylum. I am proud my Episcopal Church is standing up for them, but let us not call them illegal, because they are legally seeking refuge.

  18. Bruce Babcock says:

    As El Salvador Bishop David Alvarado said in the article
    “To be a migrant,” he said, “is treated like a crime, when in reality, migrants are fleeing violence and looking not only for opportunity but also for refuge and salvation. In Central America’s Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – people are fleeing social conflict.” Conflict such as the killing of a loved one. An attempt at gang recruitment. A rape. Harassment by a police officer. A death threat over an outstanding extortion payment.

    For those who condemn the women in the Hutto for-profit prison, what would you have done in their place?

    Charlotte and Dave Wilmer started a Facebook fundraiser called “Reunite an Immigrant Parent With Their Child,” with an initial goal of $1500. In just over a week they raised more the $20 million.

    A 6-year-old’s lemonade stand in Atlanta raised over $13,000 for separated immigrant families.

    Who can object to that?

    One thousand Episcopalians made the effort to stand with these five hundred women and assure them that they are both remembered and loved. Who can condemn this?

  19. cynthia seddon says:

    No one could condemn that. It is still not the answer. Apply legally, USA cannot cope with the flood at the border, even Germany has recognized the futility. The best way would be to hace proper, incorrupt government in those countries so that there would be no rush to leave. Sound impossible, but USA cannot become a refugee country, or citizens would rise in protest as they would be expected to face the costs involved ih healthcare, education, housing etc.

    1. Randy Marks says:


      Re: “USA cannot become a refugee country.” With respect, actually we ARE “a refugee country.” Some examples from history:

      —The Quakers came to Pennsylvania, the Puritans came to Massachusetts, and the Catholics came to Maryland fleeing religious oppression (ironically from our Mother Church).

      —My mother and her family (of Jewish descent) and many others came over after WWII fleeing the chaos and fear of post-war Europe. (Many Jews were turned away before the war, leading to their deaths.)

      —Many Vietnamese came after the Vietnamese war ended.

      —We welcomed Cubans fleeing Castro regime.

      —The Irish fled the Irish potato famine.

      I was going to write that what has changed is our attitude towards refugees. But that’s not true. This dialog is in the long tradition of struggling over how welcoming to be.

      I admire Merkel for being in trouble with her people for taking a humane and courageous stand to open her borders.

      I agree that the long term solution is to promote better governments and stronger economies, for few people flee places where they have prosperity and human rights. And, while accomplishing that is perhaps not “impossible” (Colombia has become a much better country over the past three decades), it won’t be done quickly.

      In the mean time, some of us on this thread (I’m grateful for the civility here) think that we need to follow the law (in treating refugees in accordance with our treaty obligations and our own laws, which allow asylum seekers to come here and make their case that they are in reasonable fear of harm if they return) and God’s call to welcome the stranger (Mathew 25: 34-40).

      Thanks for “listening.”

      1. Randy Marks says:

        I didn’t have enough space to quote Mathew 25: 34-40:

        Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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