It has been clear for a long time that our nation’s immigration system is broken and unjust. I am proud of how Unitarian Universalists have put our faith and values into action by standing on the side of love with immigrant rights organizations and communities. Our Justice General Assembly in Phoenix in 2012 was a prominent example of our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
But years of advocacy and activism have not resulted in immigration reform. In fact, since 2008, more than two million people have been deported from the U.S. That’s more than 1,000 people every day. And still Congress does nothing.
To address this ongoing tragedy, our partners at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) are holding a National Day of Action on April 5th for groups across the country to tell President Obama that after two million deportations, it is past time for executive action to stop the deportations. We will urge the President to grant deferred action as he did for the “Dreamers,” the children brought to this country by their parents seeking a better way of life for their families. Congressional inaction makes this executive action absolutely necessary.
Four years ago, I initiated an interfaith letter calling on the President to suspend the Immigration Custom and Enforcement Secure Communities Program that has created a devastating mass detention and deportation system in this country. I asked Maria Hinojosa, producer of the Frontline film Lost in Detention, to speak as our Justice GA Ware Lecturer. I have consistently urged administrative relief for our migrant communities, while continuing to press Congress for compassionate immigration reform. While we wait for the Congress to create a framework for immigration reform, it only makes sense to provide relief from deportations for those who would be included in an immigration reform bill.
I hope that you will respond to NDLON’s call to action. Please visit NDLON’s #Not1More website to find an April 5th action near you or to add your own action to the map. And I urge you to sign the Petition to President Obama.
On April 4th, I will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) Spring Conference for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We know that we are one human family. Indigenous communities on the border often say, “We didn’t cross the border, it crossed us.” They too are suffering from our broken immigration system. I will ask people at the conference to observe the April 5th National Day of Action and to sign the petition. Two million deportations is a sad milestone. Two million is too many.
Love has no borders. Love keeps families together.
Love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
The Reverend Peter Morales
President, Unitarian Universalist Association