Update: On June 20, 2018 President Trump signed an executive order to allow parents who have crossed the border into the United States illegally to remain with their children while they are detained. CRC leadership added the update to the earlier statement early June 21.
CRC leaders write that as Christians, we believe that the family is a core component to God’s structuring of society.
On June 18, the Christian Reformed Church released a statement expressing dismay about the forced separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. The statement was signed by the denomination’s U.S. leaders.
The statement notes with alarm that that the new “zero tolerance” policy now being enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice separates vulnerable children from their parents.
“As Christians, we believe that the family is a core component to God’s structuring of society. Throughout the Bible, God’s work is told, experienced, and carried out by people in families,” the statement reads. “Acknowledging that the family is such a core building block for faith formation and kingdom work, we believe that governments should separate families only in the rarest of instances.”
Acknowledging that governments have the right to uphold laws and secure their borders, the statement calls on governments to use discretion and make the well-being of children as well as the upholding of human rights conventions key factors in making such decisions.
“As people of faith with a call to protect the vulnerable, welcome the stranger, and love our neighbors, we urge our leaders to act with compassion for people fleeing life-threatening persecution and to keep families together,” the statement reads. “We call on the U.S. administration to immediately end these unjust practices and to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the values of family unity, humane treatment, and refuge for persons being persecuted.”
The signatories also call on Congress to immediately act to reform the U.S. immigration system so that there are more, not fewer, opportunities for legal status and permanent protection for vulnerable immigrants. The statement encourages members of the denomination to keep this situation in their prayers, to educate themselves about issues facing immigrants, and to urge their lawmakers to enact laws that honor the blessings that immigrants bring to the country.
The statement ends with a link to the advocacy action center on the website of the Office of Social Justice. There, U.S. residents can send an email asking Congress to speak out against family separation and for a strong refugee resettlement program.