New York: June 18, 2018

The Trump administration’s current policy of separating children from their parents on the U.S. border is inhumane and contrary to the teachings and values of Christian Churches, said Father Joseph Varghese, Executive Director of IRFT in a joint letter of the Religious leaders sent to the Department of Homeland Security Administration.

It is appalling that about 11,000 children are in shelters, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There are 2000 children were removed from the care of their parents and taken into federal custody between April 19 and May 31, an immigration official said Friday.

“Administration has adopted a strategy to force the asylum seekers to return to their country by separating the children from them is inhumane and cowardly act” said Father Varghese. The administration has, in deciding to separate children from their parents, to use children are ransomed, using them as a leverage against the parents applying for their asylum applications.

It is very sad to see that administration is evoking scripture verses for their action.

Embers of disapproval were stoked when Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited scripture on Thursday in defense of the administration’s tough immigration policies.

“I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” he said.

Meanwhile, quoting the selective passage from bible is unethical and can quote anyone to use for any situation regardless what was it meant for, said Fr. Varghese. Even the slavery can be justified using selective scripture verses.

No federal law requires family separation. The policy is part of the Justice Department’s clampdown on immigration. “The President has power and authority to stop it right now with the stroke of his pen.” said Fr. Varghese.

Therefore, we the Faith Leaders call on the United States government to reunite children with their families and to establish a humane and just system to assist those seeking asylum and refuge in our nation. 

( Fr. Joseph Varghese is the Executive Director, Institute for Religious Freedom and Tolerance, New York)