Interfaith Community Denounces Immigration Raids

(Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

RICHMOND – Supporters of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) have strongly condemned the immigration raids that occurred on Sunday, March 26, in Richmond and other parts of the nation.

Raids which targeted working fathers and long-time Richmond residents resulted in the division of multiple families rooted in the community. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers misrepresented themselves as local police, undermining community trust in local law enforcement. Despite the position of Richmond’s local leadership, our neighbors remain unsafe, pushed further into the shadows. It is incumbent upon each of us to advocate for greater accountability and policies that promote justice for all.

Values that are foundational across faith traditions include welcoming the stranger and caring for the vulnerable. The interfaith community grieves today with the families experiencing trauma from separation and police intimidation, who find themselves more vulnerable than ever. We stand with all who have much to fear and will continue to work alongside our neighbors from all walks of life to make our communities places of welcome and inclusion.

Comments

Kim Bobo, Executive Director of VICPP:

“Indiscriminate raids that target hard-working immigrant parents throw families into crisis and communities into terror. We want Virginia to be safe and welcoming for all. Such raids undermine safety and welcome.”

Lana Heath de Martinez, Welcoming All Coordinator for VICPP:

“Our traditions may be different, but our call as people of faith is the same: to love our neighbors, to care for the suffering, to walk with the marginalized through every darkness. Where we can see boundaries to our care and solidarity, it is up to us to break them down until every person lives freely in the light.”

“Working with faith communities to make our spaces safe and free extends far beyond the doors of our places of worship. We continue to urge localities across the Commonwealth to listen to feedback from impacted communities and implement policies and practices that will limit ICE activity to the furthest extent possible. This is our task until all people are safe and free.”

Rabbi Michael Knopf, Temple Beth-El, VICPP Richmond Chapter member:

“Scripture teaches us to care for and defend those who seek our protection and not deliver them to those from whom they have fled. This principle applies to all, regardless of their immigration, social, or economic status. We are called to consider their interests, to offer them our generosity, and take care not to cause them pain. The recent arrest of three undocumented immigrants – in front of their families without warning or provocation – in Richmond, along with similar actions being carried out nationwide, violate these biblical teachings. Instead of separating families, causing economic disruptions and dislocations, and putting deportees at risk of serious harm and death, our leaders should be pursuing compassionate and fair immigration reform while protecting the civil liberties of immigrants (regardless of federal immigration status) and ensuring that immigration proceedings are carried out with due process. Meanwhile, such actions underscore the need for Richmond and its surrounding municipalities, as well as schools and houses of worship, to become ‘sanctuaries,’ protecting those in our community who are most vulnerable.”

Contact:

Kim Bobo, VICPP Executive Director: kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Lana Heath de Martinez, VICPP Welcoming All Coordinator: lana@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Rabbi Michael Knopf, Temple Beth-El: rabbi.knopf@bethelrichmond.org

 

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

1716 E. Franklin St.

Richmond VA 23223

804-658-3956

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@vainterfaith