Jul 31, 2020

Statement on Racism

Adopted by the Immigrant Hope Board of Directors on July 30, 2020.

The board of Immigrant Hope joins with our brothers and sisters of many races and creeds to condemn and mourn the unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and hundreds of others.

We join with the many diverse groups calling for reforms to eliminate the systemic practices that enable and perpetuate the impoverishment, imprisonment, abuse and death of so many of our black and brown neighbors. Some of these practices include police brutality; selective enforcement; mass incarceration; voter suppression; and discrimination in housing, employment, education and healthcare.

Our primary mission is to build capacity for churches to serve immigrants, but to remain silent at this moment would be wrong. As Immigrant Hope staff and volunteers serve and advocate for recent immigrants, many of us have personally experienced or witnessed these destructive and degrading practices. Our friends, family members, coworkers, partners, and clients are among those abused for the color of their skin. We navigate an immigration legal system whose brokenness produces injustice and whose policies and practices perpetuate an historically racist legacy [1]; We too know the effects of harsh and unequal application of laws that often ignore the suffering of people made in the image of God. To our black and brown brothers and sisters, to all immigrants and their families, know that we see your pain and will do all that we can to implement lasting policy solutions to the causes of your suffering.

Immigrant Hope is also a community of churches dedicated to effectiveness and vitality as guided by Scripture. We affirm the value and dignity of every person[2] made in the image of God[3]. We acknowledge God’s particular care for the vulnerable in society[4]—the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the immigrant—and take up God’s call to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the oppressed.”[5] We experience each other’s pain and care for one another.[6] We cry out to God for help and comfort.[7] We claim the power of Jesus, his gospel, and his Holy Spirit[8] to break the bonds of oppression and the walls of division[9] to bring spiritual, physical, and emotional healing to our nation and communities[10].

The church has a checkered past in standing for the oppressed. We join William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr, John Perkins, the NAE, and others in taking up the cause of the oppressed. Their legacy compels us to grapple with the diverse causes that produce unjust, evil outcomes. America has done much good in its history and aspirations. However, we must do significantly better in overcoming the racial issues that have once again been revealed in the events before us today. Our nation’s troubled racial history, our society’s economic and political incentives, and the personal habits and prejudices of those in power all play a part. We must work hard to address these issues through our words and our deeds in all spheres of society.

           We ask that the rest of the church, our fellow members of the Body of Christ, also stand with us in the important and on-going work of transforming and improving the promise of “all people created equal” for our black and brown brothers and sisters.   

Action Steps

[1] Chinese Exclusion Act, Coolie Laws, Asiatic Barred Zones, Quota Laws, Mexican Repatriation campaign, 1952 McCarran-Walter Act baring homosexuals, 1954 Operation Wetback, 2017 Muslim Travel Ban, 2018 Family Separation policies, 2018 Kids in Cages policy that is still in effect, 2019 ending Humanitarian Deferred Action for kids in hospitals and others, etc. See also:

How Legacies of Racism Persist in U.S. Immigration Policy https://scholars.org/contribution/how-legacies-racism-persist-us-immigration-policy

Ethnicity, Immigration, and The American National Community

[2] Proverbs 22:2

[3] Genesis 1:26

[4] Deuteronomy 10:18, Psalm 35:10

[5] Psalm 82:3

[6] 2 Corinthians 1:3-8

[7] Psalm 72:12-13

[8] 1 Thessalonians 1:5

[9] Ephesians 2:13-18

[10] Isaiah 58:6-12