Hundreds will gather in support of migrant families who have been cruelly detained, deported, and separated from their families under the current administration’s zero tolerance policy. In the midst of heated negotiations on the 2019 federal budget, local religious leaders and people of moral courage from over a dozen organizations are calling on Senators Donnelly and Young to say commit to not allowing one more dime for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which funds Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Danni Lerma, a Faith in Indiana leader and DACA recipient, is speaking out because, he says, “As long as white supremacy is the law of the land, and elected officials continue to separate families without being held responsible, everything my family and I have worked for is at stake. Our house, our business, our peace of mind – everything.”
The dehumanizing and traumatic effects of detention have already taken hold on thousands of children who have been separated from their families and scattered across the U.S. How and when children will be united with their families is still unclear; and adding dollars to any program that refuses to acknowledge the damage that it has caused is irresponsible, at best.
Congress has already approved an increased overall budget for DHS for the fiscal year 2018, funding DHS $6.3 billion above the previous year’s enacted level. DHS has made it clear that these funds can be used at their discretion, including creating internment camps with up to 51,000 beds, more ICE agents on the ground to terrorize our neighbors and more cages for children and their families at the border. The urgency of this moment is why so many are gathering and demanding that legislators take stock in the damage that has already been done and do everything in their power to put a stop to this deportation machine, which has been spiraling out of control for the past 2 years.
Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, says, “We must ask— ‘How is God’s love shown in zero tolerance policies – policies that have separated children from their parents?’ Those who seek to cross our border have a myriad of reasons for doing so. Our baptismal covenant commits us to respecting the dignity of every human being; and calls us to wade in the water, to stand with the vulnerable and marginalized and work to transform systems of injustice.”
Some local candidates and elected officials have offer distractions through messages of fear that put the blame on our immigrant neighbors, while executives at private prison companies like GeoGroup and CoreCivic profit off our people’s pain. We need our Senators Donnelly and Young and members of Congress to commit publicly that they will not have any part in this atrocity; and are committed to calling every day until they stand with us to keep families together, both at the border and right here in Indiana.
The process of creating a clean path to citizenship starts with cutting off the inflated budgets for ICE and CBP in the fiscal year 2019 and putting in place humane procedures for processing people at our borders desperately seeking a better life.
Faith in Indiana, ACLU, AVER Indianapolis American Friends Corp., Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance, Christ Church Cathedral, Proactive Collaboration Bloomington, Exodus Refugee Services, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, Muslim Youth Collective, MoveOn.org, Answer Coalition, Jewish Community Relations Council, Indianapolis PFLAG, Lawyers for Good Government, Immigration Welcome Center