The situation in the USA is truly shocking. The separation of children from their parents at the border and the possibility that some of them will never be reunited represents the height of cruelty within a system of border control. US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions’ use of the Bible to justify this policy fails to recognise the importance of being citizens of the kingdom of God.
The situation in America reminds us of the importance of treating migrants with humanity and decency irrespective of their legal status. Ian Blackford MP raised this case in Prime Minister’s Questions today. Theresa May responded saying “This is wrong, this is not something we agree with, this is not the UK’s approach”. She drew attention to her decision to end the routine detention of families with children when she was Home Secretary.
It is right and proper that family detention was ended but there is a broader point to be noted. While the UK may not detain families with children any longer we still have an immigration system that fails to treat migrants without the right documentation decently. That system has a name: the ‘hostile environment’.
While we condemn what is happening in the USA it is important that we also call for migrants within our own borders to be treated decently.
That is why our four Churches are launching a report at 11am on Thursday calling for an end to the hostile environment.
We believe that the hostile environment deliberately inflicts destitution, encourages discrimination, and thrives on suspicion.
It is time to challenge the hostile environment and to promote a more hospitable environment. We invite churches, church groups and individuals actively to challenge the hostile environment.
Join us over the next four weeks as we release videos, stories, prayers and poems calling for the government to #endhostility