After protesters in Murrieta in California turned back busloads of immigrants, including children and mothers, New York’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Timothy M Dolan, was furious. He drafted a blog post to show his shame over the incident and noted: “It was un-American; it was unbiblical; it was inhumane”.
When Terry E Branstad, the governor of Iowa, declared that he did not want the immigrants in his state, Des Moines clergy members held a vigil at a local United Methodist Church to show their desire for the refugees to be made room for. The response in the United States to the influx of tens of thousands of immigrant minors, many of whom are fleeing exploitation and violence in Central America, has been one of anger from local officials and citizens over the idea of building shelters to house them; however, an array of religious leaders around the nation are attempting to drum up support for the immigrant minors, saying they can and should be welcomed by the US.
“We’re talking about whether we’re going to stand at the border and tell children who are fleeing a burning building to go back inside,” says Rabbi Asher Knight from the Temple Emanu-El in Dallas. Knight notes that last week the leaders of over 100 faith organizations gathered in his city to talk about how they could help the immigration crisis.
“The question for us is: How do we want to be remembered, as yelling and screaming to go back, or as using the teachings of our traditions to have compassion and love and grace for the lives of God’s children?” Knight asked.