File - New Mexico Faith Coalition For Immigrant Justice

Dear (Senator, Representative, President, Director of Homeland Security),
We are leaders of Jewish, Ecumenical Christian, Unitarian, and Buddhist faith communities and
jurisdictions in New Mexico. Together we represent approximately 605,000 people of faith
across the state. We are deeply concerned by the detention of thousands of migrant women
and children. We write to urge you to call on President Obama and the Department of
Homeland Security to end the inhumane practice of child and family detention, including the
operation of a new 2,400 bed for-profit facility in Dilley, TX.
Although President Obama will extend deportation relief to many undocumented parents, he
announced plans to continue the dramatic expansion of family detention for young children and
their mothers fleeing violence. We condemn this policy which impedes migrants’ access to the
immigration legal system, keeps children imprisoned and separated from family in the U.S.
Family immigration detention is inherently inhumane and inconsistent with our nation's values
and faith traditions. We are horrified by reports of abuse and substandard conditions at family
detention centers. In 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) closed the T. Don
Hutto Residential Center after media exposure, advocacy, and a lawsuit showed that detaining
traumatized families is unjust and inappropriate for the well-being of families and the social,
psychological and physical development of children1. The Artesia facility is rightly being shut
down, but the children and mothers jailed there should be released to family members in the
U.S. rather than transferred to for-profit detention centers.
Our faith traditions instruct us to welcome the immigrant through text such as Leviticus 19:34,
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.” We as clergy
throughout New Mexico are living out this command by welcoming immigrant families to our
communities and congregations.
The vast majority of detained families are neither a flight nor security risk. Many community
based support programs and alternatives to detention exist: most notably release to family in the
United States while continuing immigration proceedings. Given that over 90% of detained
families have relatives in the country, as reported by the American Immigration Lawyers
Association, we beseech you to grant release to the women and children, and to the fathers
who have been separated from their families and detained in other facilities. We believe the
costs of imprisonment – to the children and families, to our local communities, to our federal
budget, and to our very souls – are simply too great for us to bear.
In the absence of meaningful immigration reform at the federal level we, as the leaders of faith
communities throughout New Mexico, ask you to take a public stand against incarcerating
migrant children and families by calling on the President to stop this unconscionable practice.
Archbishop Michael Sheehan, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe;
Bishop Oscar Cantu, Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces;
Rev. Charlotte Hoppe, Tres Rios Area, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);
Rev. Bob Aubrey, Tres Rios Area, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);
Rev. Dr. Sallie Watson, Mission Presbyter, Presbytery of Santa Fe;
Locking Up Family Values, Again, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services & Women's Refugee Commission,
Dick Hahn, Rio Grande Mission Center, Community of Christ;
Bishop Jim Gonia, Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA;
Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, Southwest Conference United Church of Christ;
Bishop Michael Vono, the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande;
Fr. Daniel G. P. Gutierrez, Canon to the Ordinary, The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande;
Rev. Donna McNiel, New Mexico Conference of Churches;
Kathryn Turnipseed, Community Dharma Leader, Albuquerque;
Rev. Lourdes Calderón, Cornerstone Methodist Church, Albuquerque;
Rev. David Wilson Rogers, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Carlsbad;
Rev. Angela Herrera, First Unitarian Church, Albuquerque;
Ruth Hoffman, Director, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico;
Sr. Therese Rodriguez, OP, Albuquerque;
Rev. Mr. James Scott, Christ the King, Shiprock;
Pastor Greg Henneman, Central United Methodist Church, Albuquerque;
Rosemary Blanchard, Clerk of Peace & Social Concerns, Albuquerque Friends Meeting;
Rev. Geri Cunningham, St. Peter Lutheran, Carlsbad;
Rev. Laurie Lewis, Monte Vista Christian Church, Albuquerque;
Rabbi Shefa Gold, Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice, Jemez Springs;
Carol Morrison, Board Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Silver City;
Rev. Guillermo Yela, Camino de Vida Presbyterian/Lutheran Ministry, Albuquerque;
Rev. Mr. Tom Baca, Albuquerque;
Rev. Holly Beaumont, Interfaith Worker Justice, Santa Fe;
The Rev Dr Rob Craig, Pastor Emeritus, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque;
Rev. Vincent Chavez, St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, Albuquerque;
Pastor Nick King, Carlsbad Mennonite Church;
Rev. Linda Lachesnez, Immanuel Presbyterian Church;
Rev. Glen Thamert, retired Lutheran minister, Jemez Springs;
Rev. Sue Joiner, First Congregational United Church of Christ;
Rev. Dr. William K. Hedrick, Honorably Retired, Presbytery of Santa Fe;
Sr. Delores Kincaide, the Loretto Community of New Mexico, Jemez Springs;
Rev. Dr. Catherine Robinson, Member at Large, Presbytery of Santa Fe;
Rev. Richard L. Harrison, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque;
Rev. Dr. Frank Yates, HR, Presbytery of Sana Fe, Albuquerque;
The Rev. Rhonda Smith McIntire, Rector, San Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church,
Rev. Eva Ceskava, Unitarian Universalist, retired, Albuquerque;
Rev. Richard D. Stoops, HR, Presbytery of Sana Fe, Albuquerque;
Rev. Benedict Livingstone s.P., Roman Catholic Parish, Jemez Springs;
Rev. Gerald Steinmetz, Franciscan, Holy Family Parish, Albuquerque;
Rev. Dr. Steven Voris, First Presbyterian Church, Carlsbad;
Valerie Roth, Community Dharma Leader, Albuquerque;
Rev. Rachael Powell, St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Albuquerque;
Rev. Bill Aber, HR, Presbytery of Santa Fe, Albuquerque;
Fr. Warren Broussard, S.J., Immaculate Conception Church, Albuquerque;
Rabbi Neil Amswych, Temple Beth Shalom, Santa Fe;
Fr. Eric Ramirez, S.J., Immaculate Conception Church, Albuquerque;
Rev. Arkad Biczak, St. John XXIII Catholic Community, Albuquerque;
Rev. Anita Amstutz, Albuquerque Mennonite Church;
Joanna Haston, Director of the Office of Liturgical Formation, R.C. Diocese of Las Cruces, Las
Grace Cassetta, Coordinator of Peace and Justice Education and Advocacy, R.C. Diocese of
Las Cruces;
Mary Helen Llañez, Office of Marriage & Family Life, R.C. Diocese of Las Cruces, Las Cruces
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