Lawrence, KS (June 29, 2018) — Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide, faith-based issue-advocacy organization, today announced that an Interfaith Vigil on Immigration and Separated Families will be held on Monday, July 2 at 2 pm in the ground floor Visitors' Center of the Kansas State Capitol.
Although Pres. Trump has rescinded the order to separate families presenting themselves for asylum at the border, over 2,000 children remain separated from their families in the US, with the possibility of reuniting them with their families unclear at best. In addition, the ongoing “zero tolerance” policy substitutes another unjust and inhumane (and illegal, according to international law) policy – family detention – for the repudiated family separation policy.
Recently it has been reported that there is a shelter for separated immigrant children in Topeka. It is the only such shelter in Kansas or Missouri, so it's gathering a lot of attention. Rather than speaking to the specific issues raised by the presence of this shelter, we'll pray for the well-being of the children there, for their immediate reunification with their families, and around the larger issues at hand: caring for the stranger, the importance of asylum, and the issue of diversity and, not only acceptance, but joy at the inclusion of people of all hues and faiths in the America we're trying to build.
Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of KIFA, said, “The Torah directs us no fewer than 36 times to 'care for the immigrant, for you too were immigrants.' The idea that family separation could be used as a policy of deterrence is so immoral as to boggle the mind. That the administration continues to treat legitimate asylum seekers as criminal is inhumane, unjust, and illegal according to international law. People of faith from across the religious and political spectrum are condemning this policy, praying for family reunification and the return to a more humane immigration policy. We may not have political power right now, but we have moral power, and we're going to use it.”
The speakers will represent (as far as possible) the breadth of the faith community in Kansas, and will include (tentatively) Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Christian, African-American Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy. Names will be available on the day of the event.
Kansas Interfaith Action is a statewide, multi-faith issue-advocacy organization that “puts faith into action” by educating, engaging and advocating on behalf of people of faith and the public regarding critical social, economic, and climate justice issues.
KIFA (pronounced "KEE-fa") members are shaped by the values of our diverse faiths, which connect us to an age-old concern for justice, peace, and human dignity. Rooted in faith, we join hands across difference to work for moral public policy in Kansas.