All Families Belong Together

All Families Belong Together March 6, 2019

Today I went to a hearing held by the House Homeland Security Committee where Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was speaking. After the hearing, I went outside with a coalition of groups to call her – and our whole nation – to repentance for how we have treated immigrants. Below is an edited version of my remarks.

My God teaches that love casts out all fear. My God has created all people and all families in the divine image. I believe that God stands with the mother crossing the desert with her baby. That mother and her child seeking safe harbor are precious to me because they are precious to God. And they should be precious and dignified in the eyes of our government.

7-year-old Jakelin Caal and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo were precious to God, but we let them die in custody of US Customs and Border patrol this past December. And God will judge our nation if we do not repent of the Trump administration’s cruel child separation policy and repent of the unnecessary trauma and pain caused by the termination DACA and Temporary Protected Status for millions of immigrants. We are talking about families, people with dreams and dignity, people who give our communities life and give our nation promise.

Last summer, I travelled with a delegation of women of faith down to the U.S.-Mexico border. As we visited a respite center, run by Catholic sisters, I met a nine-year-old boy. He told me he had fled Honduras because his father had been murdered. When I asked what he hoped for, he said simply “I wish that we were welcome here.”

I wish we were welcome here. What a simple thing. I wish our government, from President Trump to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to ICE Agents welcomed these children and their parents with the dignity befitting children of God.

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  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Amen! And thank you Jen Butler.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    “7-year-old Jakelin Caal and 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo were precious to God, but we let them die in custody of US Customs and Border patrol this past December” WRONG! They were beyond medical help by the time they made it to the custody of US Customs and Border patrol. If you call people to repent, let’s start of with being truthful.
    “We can and must do more than simply mend what has been torn apart. Generations of immigrants have come to this nation in search of a better life: a safe place to raise children, where opportunity is a reality, and freedom is more than just a word on a page, and opportunity is a reality. We need laws that are worthy of the American dream, that honor our values of love and dignity and family. We need a clean bill that gives a pathway to citizenship for our immigrant neighbors and families”
    We HAVE laws that are worthy of the American Dream. I personally AM one who followed those laws 23 years ago this coming August. There is a pathway to citizenship – but walking across the border without permission is NOT that law.

    I am white. It would have been much easier for me than for many others to just get lost in the crowds. I speak almost accentless English. No one would have known that I was illegally in the country. But I would have known, and my faith tells me that breaking the law (a law, btw, which is not in contradiction with God’s law!) is wrong.

    I have been involved with illegal immigrants in my ‘country of origin.’ And I encouraged and helped to go back to their homeland, and start the process to immigrate legally. Just walking across the border is not the legal way to do that. By coming in illegally, I am a law breaker from the very beginning. I do not want to be like one young man I worked with, in fear every hour of the day of being picked up and deported – and never allowed to come back, not even as a tourist!

  • CroneEver

    I’m with you, Jen Butler.
    I’m an immigrant myself. I came to this country when I was 2 1/2 years old, adopted by an American couple from Greece back in the 1950s. In the 60+ years since then I have been both welcomed with open arms, and harassed beyond belief. I have been taken for – and discriminated against for being – Hispanic, Native American, Jewish, and biracial. Ever since 9/11, because I was not born in this country, I have been subject to increased scrutiny every time I leave and return to the United States. I have read the news as people are being arrested for the color of their skin in the Southwest, some of whom are citizens of these United States, and have even been deported. I have watched people scream about “you have to come in legally!” ignoring the fact that the rules have changed so dramatically that no one knows what the rules are. Ignoring the fact that the refugees are following the rules: arriving at a port of entry and asking for asylum is legal, and is not a criminal offense. Ignoring the fact that desperate people need help now, not in some benign future.
    This must stop. It must stop. These are our neighbors and our family. It must stop.

  • “And God will judge our nation if we do not repent of “…killing babies in the womb while crusading against laws that we don’t like and have no authority to change.

  • Bill Morgan

    If you would let 500 illegal immigrants take residence on your lawn and in your house, I might believe in the sincerity
    of your beliefs, but alas, it would appear you are simply one more leftest showboater that does not know the difference
    between legal and illegal. you and aoc have much in common. Why is it people like yourself can blame the USA for the
    problem, but give the central and south american governments a pass in taking care of their own .
    bill morgan

  • mmcguire001

    Of course I would because that is what Jesus would do.

  • mamadonald

    God will judge our nation for showboating about “killing babies in the womb” when we do not take care if the women and children that are already alive. What are you doing to remedy this issue? Probably the same as the other pro-lifetime of miserable existence crusaders. What do I do for the immigrant children? I teach them and give them my heart.

  • I do what pro-lifers do. Vote for people who will support life not destroy life; for people who will stand up and say enough.
    What you do is wonderful and i understand why you do it. But God has already judged our country and we have been found guilty. All that is left is the destruction of this age at His coming. What I do is pray and pray more because only God can solve the injustice and corruption we both rail against.

  • Bill Morgan

    Let me know when you do it. There are actually thousands that like to live at your place. bm