Ministry Leaders to ICE: Release Immigrants and Let Churches Help

As coronavirus shutdowns go on, Christian groups are rallying support for asylum seekers, crowded border camps, and working-class churches.

This week, evangelical leaders from nine major organizations wrote the Trump administration to urge officials to release detained immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those who are elderly or at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

They are calling on the church and community partners to “provide any assistance they can” including “safe accommodations in which to ‘shelter in place’ for as long as such practices are advised.”

“Our concern is rooted in our Christian belief that each human life is made in the image of God and thus precious, and, like you, we want to do everything possible to minimize the loss of life as a result of this pandemic,” the leaders wrote in a letter sent Monday to Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

The letter was signed by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Council, among other members of the Evangelical Immigration Table, a group of Christian leaders who support comprehensive immigration reform.

Detention and camps

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated the already precarious position of those being held in detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while seeking asylum in the US.

Not only do they worry about their health while living in close quarters, they are concerned about what the crisis means for their prospects of a future in the US. With just a year to apply for legal status, the clock could run out while they are waiting for legal clinics to reopen to help them file …

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