This week the Senate will vote on a bill that targets "sanctuary cities." Apart from the political calculations that underlie this vote, it is in part a response to the shooting death of Kate Steinle this summer in San Francisco.
Our hearts grieve deeply with Steinle's family. As parents of daughters, we cannot fathom the tragic loss her family is suffering.
As local and national advocates for immigrants and immigration, we want to extend our sympathies. But as Congress returns this week, we also want to speak on behalf of the Sanctuary movement, which has been scapegoated unfairly. more >>
We are two local faith leaders troubled by the current global humanitarian crisis facing immigrants and refugees and seeking tangible ways to faithfully respond to those who have found their way to our community.
We were encouraged that Pope Francis' first words in his first speech in the U.S. addressed this issue, "As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in your country, which was largely built by such families."
The Pope reminded us of one of the unique strengths of this great country. We are a nation of immigrants, who throughout history have been willing to welcome the tired and poor, the huddled masses to our shores. more >>
Turmoil in the Middle East has created one of the worst human disasters of our time, and a tough problem. How we think and talk about it matters.
On September 9th, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, urged European Union members to distribute 160,000 migrants among member nations.
The unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, which has resulted in at least 2,500 deaths by drowning, is largely being driven by people seeking to escape the civil war and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. more >>
Tensions over the refugee crisis in Germany have been rising this week with major protests against Chancellor Angela Merkel's vow to take in at least 800,000 refugees from Syria and the Middle East. Close to 9,000 members of the anti-migrant PEGIDA movement marched in Dresden earlier this week, while Merkel was mocked by a German TV channel that depicted her wearing an Islamic headscarf.
"I am convinced that Mrs.Merkel's politics are against national interests. I'm very disturbed about that. It's almost treason. She has forgotten the oath she gave when she was sworn in," said PEGIDA supporter Max Haupt, according to EuroNews.
EarActiv Germany reported that the marches, organized by the "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident" group drew 9,000 participants, while Deutsche Welle added that a previous march last week gathered together another 7,500. more >>
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has likened the influx of Syrian migrants into the U.S. to a coup, claiming that migrants "could be ISIS." However, in a recent open letter to Trump — who considers himself a Presbyterian — Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of the General Assembly, declared the church's compassion and support for displaced migrants.
"Presbyterians through decades of policy have demanded humane treatment of people of all nationalities and faiths who find themselves within our borders," wrote Parsons.
"We have challenged our government when it neglects to acknowledge the refugee status of those fleeing persecution. We have pushed for due process at the border and we continue to petition for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented persons." more >>
"We are a country belonging to a Christian culture."
"Christian culture" ought to be a major concern as European Union justice and interior ministers come together in a special session September 22 to discuss the immigration crisis rumbling their nations. Almost certainly it won't be.
Margus Tsahnka, who spoke those politically incorrect words, is not likely to get a Nobel Peace Prize, or be invited to the Oval Office. Tsahnka is minister of social affairs in Estonia, whose primary city, Tallinn, which I have visited, is one of the world's jewels of historic preservation. Estonia is on the Baltic, and, with Latvia and Lithuania, struggles to fend off Putin's tentacles threatening to pull it back into some form of the old Soviet empire. more >>