A Statement on Reuniting Families at the U.S. Border

For the LORD your God… executes justice for the orphan and widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. –Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (NRSV)

The Colorado Council of Churches calls on President Trump, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Justice to quickly reunite the families of those who have come to the U.S. seeking safety from the dangerous situations they faced in their home countries.

We are encouraged that the Trump Administration has temporarily halted the splitting up of their families. Yet, thousands of children remain separated from their parents. These children are living in “tender age shelters” on our nation’s southern border, or they are currently thousands of miles away, living in temporary foster care situations. Today, there is no clear plan from our government to reunite these children with their parents. Based on what has already happened, there is the real prospect that some families will never be brought back together. To leave these families with such uncertainty is an intolerable and unjust situation that must end.

As Christian faith leaders, we are deeply troubled that New Testament scripture was used to justify this cruel policy. In the past, the Bible has been inappropriately used to support unjust laws that have led to abuse and atrocities. This moment requires our nation, particularly our political leaders and policymakers, to do better. We understand that the U.S. is a nation of laws, but we believe that the laws and policies we call into question should reflect the moral values of our nation. We, as a nation, should work for justice, have compassion for the plight of families seeking asylum, and show mercy.

We believe that separating families as a deterrent to future border crossings will diminish our moral standing among the nations. It will also have traumatic, long-term consequences for the physical, mental and spiritual health of everyone involved: the families seeking asylum; the U.S. border agents who physically separated spouses and children; the people in our legal system who prosecuted the parents, and those who operating detention centers and tender age shelters for children.

We pray for these families as they continue to endure the grief from being forcibly separated from their loved ones. We pray that God’s love will surround them and comfort them in this difficult time. In addition to our prayers, we must also call for action. Our government must permanently end the policy of immediately splitting up the families of people seeking asylum. Though much damage has already been done, we can repair the breach by reuniting these families as quickly as possible.

Rev. Sue Artt, Conference Minister, Rocky Mountain Conference,
United Church of Christ

Rev. Joan Bell-Haynes, Executive Regional Minister, Central Rocky Mountain Region, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop James W. Gonia, , Rocky Mountain Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Presiding Elder Anthony Hill, Kansas District,
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

Father Michael Nicosia, Vicar of the Presiding Bishop, Rocky Mountain Region, Ecumenical Catholic Communion

Bishop Karen Oliveto, The United Methodist Church, The Mountain Sky Episcopal Area

The Right Reverend Robert O’Neill, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Colorado

Presiding Elder Jonathan Rhone, Desert Mountain Conference,
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Vickie Samland, Church of the Brethren, Western Plains District representative

Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran, Executive Regional Minister,
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains

Adrian Miller, Executive Director, Colorado Council of Churches