A Church Resolution To Divest (Or Conduct Radical Shareholder Advocacy) Against #Trumpcamps And For-Profit Prisons

A Church Resolution To Divest (Or Conduct Radical Shareholder Advocacy) Against #Trumpcamps And For-Profit Prisons June 29, 2019

A resolution on detention divestiture and shareholder advocacy

Whereas, “Don’t mistreat any foreigners who live in your land. Instead, treat them as well as you treat citizens and love them as much as you love yourself. Remember, you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (CEV Leviticus 19:33-34);

Whereas, “Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (NRSVA Matthew 25:45); 

Whereas increasing numbers of financial institutions, businesses, and religious organizations are recognizing divestment as a strategy to pressure governments to create a more humane approach to immigration policy;

Whereas, the ELCA social statement on immigration reads, in part, “We advocate for a reliable, consistent, and sensitive implementation of the law governing asylum seekers. We oppose practices that create unreasonable obstacles and unattainable standards of proof for those seeking asylum. We support efforts to ensure that due process is followed and that the conditions of detention are humane. We call upon [government agencies] to recognize the particular vulnerabilities of children by developing child-appropriate standards and procedures. We encourage that agency vigorously to use the channels of communication it has developed with refugee organizations to improve processes and conditions for asylum seekers”; 

Whereas, the use of for profit prisons and other detention facilities to house asylum seekers and children falls far short of these standards;

Whereas, the recent ELCA social statement on Criminal Justice states, “this church urges that arbitrary and indefinite detention and dehumanizing isolation of migrants should be discontinued and the use of humane alternatives expanded”;

And whereas, Presiding Bishop Eaton in an interfaith statement on children at the border said, “We urge the Administration to maintain its commitment to international law and defend human rights by implementing safeguards to ensure the safety and health of all of those seeking protection in our land, especially those children who fall under our care.” (Interfaith Statement June 6, 2019); therefore,

Be it resolved the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in America instruct Portico and other affiliate financial organizations not to invest (in any of its funds) in corporations whose business model depends upon operating institutions of human trafficking including for-profit prisons;

Be it further resolved that the ELCA direct Portico to allow an exception to such divestiture only in the instance when a corporation engages in other businesses besides operating for-profit prisons and the Corporate Social Responsibility ministry has active plans in place to “engage in shareholder advocacy in support of human rights, exercising the right of a shareholder to submit resolutions at a corporation’s annual meeting” (Resolution C2, ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2016).

To sign this resolution as a petition, visit the petition at Change.org: http://chng.it/LK2qddJ29x

For background on what is happening at the border and the development of for-profit prisons in relation to mass incarceration , see: https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/capitalizing-on-mass-incarceration-u-s-growth-in-private-prisons/

A Visit To Detention And Unaccompanied Minors Centers At the Arizona-Mexico Border

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