U.S. churches are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s decision to move 5,200 U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to stop a migrant caravan headed for the U.S. The caravan, which started in Honduras, is estimated to be around 4,000 strong.
According to The Christian Post, church’s and Christian organizations around the nation are defending the asylum seekers and voicing opposition toward the threats of military action at the border.
Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, released official statement through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asking the government to “treat all people humanely.”
The statement reads, "We are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America. While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely, and provide due process."
The statement goes on to read, "We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely."
The charities then urged the U.S. Government to continue to seek out the causes of violence in Central America saying, "Furthermore, we strongly advocate for continued U.S. investments to address the underlying causes of violence and lack of opportunity in Central America. Our presence throughout the Americas has convinced us that migration is a regional issue that requires a comprehensive, regional solution. An enforcement-only approach does not address nor solve the larger root causes that cause people to flee their countries in search of protection."
The General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church board of directors also released a statement on the issue, asserting that they believe sending troops to the boarder is a mistake.
The UMC statement said, "A delegation of four of our members traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to better understand the root causes of migration, the right to asylum and the criminalization of migrants."
"All of the faith, nonprofit, and government leaders our delegation met shared great concern and fear about U.S. troops being deployed in response to the group of migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border," it continued.
"We were, therefore, alarmed to learn that the administration will most likely send U.S. troops to the U.S-Mexico border."
The church also noted that they “denounce and oppose the rise of xenophobic, racist, and violent reactions against migrants in the United States, and support all efforts to build relationships among people, instead of building walls among diverse ethnicities and cultures."
Evangelical relief group World Relief offered a similar statement by retweeting a post they had issued in August saying, "U.S. law gives the right to any person seeking asylum in the U.S. to access a designated port of entry. We're committed to protecting the rights of immigrants lawfully seeking refuge in the U.S., partnering w/ organizations to offer legal services to families seeking asylum."
U.S. law gives the right to any person seeking asylum in the U.S. to access a designated port of entry. We're committed to protecting the rights of immigrants lawfully seeking refuge in the U.S., partnering w/ organizations to offer legal services to families seeking asylum. pic.twitter.com/TckqEyf2NE— World Relief (@WorldRelief) August 31, 2018
President Trump, however, has voiced concerns about criminals entering into the country without documentation and the effects of having thousands of undocumented immigrants enter the country at one time.
In a statement on Twitter on Monday, the President said, “Many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan heading to our southern border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for you!”
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
In an interview with Fox News Trump said, “We're going to put tents up all over the place. We're not going to build structures and spend ... hundreds of millions of dollars. We're going to have tents, they're going to be very nice and they're going to wait and if they don't get asylum, they get out.”
The Christian Post reports that on Monday, the president announced that he had deployed 5,200 extra support troops to the southern border who will work to contain the caravan of people seeking asylum, make sure that due process is adhered to and make sure no one enters the country illegally.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Pool