I join my colleagues at CLUE: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, Chirla, Carecen, ImmDef LC, and the Haitian Bridge Alliance, and stand with ecumenical and interfaith colleagues from all over the region, to urge the Ninth Circuit to rule against the Biden administration’s restrictive asylum rules.
But let’s be clear about what’s at stake. It goes against everything most of us love about the United States to make it harder for those fleeing danger and oppression to make their way to safety and freedom. On top of that, people of faith assert the preciousness of every life, the uniqueness of every story, and every creature’s right to be safe and free.
So the soul of our country is at stake, but not just in this courtroom. Because some of our politicians excel at using anti-immigrant rhetoric to win elections. They get their power by scapegoating Black and brown bodies yearning to breathe free. They claim that to show that we’re strong, we need to compound the suffering of the powerless, even if it means sending them back home to danger or death. They excel only at the politics of fear. Spreading fear is the only way they can win.
In this very Ninth Circuit, we see evidence of judges who didn’t care for the former regime’s asylum policies, but now they’re siding with President Biden, because maybe they’re afraid that getting the old regime back would be worse – worse not just for asylees, but for all of us.
Yes, the soul of our country is at stake – in this courtroom, and in the grand jury of freedom and justice known as free and fair American elections. It’s going to be tough for these judges – weighing what’s best for our country and what’s best for our neighbors on the American continent and around the world, those who come to our borders to redeem God’s and our founders’ promise of liberty and justice for all.
Let’s pray for the judges even as we implore them to do the right thing. And let’s pray that the court of the American people, in all our elections coming up, will finally give our country what all the polls show we want – a government that will adopt decent, humane, good-sense immigration and border reform. A system that puts an end to desperate, dark, cynical political posturing. A system that once and for all puts people first. God bless you.
— My remarks at a rally Monday afternoon outside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building in Pasadena