The stories of mothers and their families at risk of being separated by deportations is at once moving and incredibly sad.
I listened to Yesenia, who shared how she almost lost her husband to an arbitrary decision made by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement at the last moment. How her family could have been broken up on a whim, though he did everything he was supposed to do.
I listened to Sondra, who was cheated by a bad lawyer out of 12,000 dollars and suddenly found herself on the wrong side of the immigration system. She’s spent over 35,000 dollars to date to finally get her paperwork fixed.
She appreciates how in this country we don’t believe children should be left alone or orphaned. Yet, she asks, why would an unjust immigration system be allowed to orphan so many children here? Her child?
Every level of action matters to help keep our community together. Stopping deportations is something where you can see an immediate effect. People called their Senators and Representatives, and Arturo Garcias Hernandez, who was in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Society of Denver, was reunited with his family. People did the same for Jeanette Vizguerra, who also took Sanctuary at the same place, and she was able to get a stay and go home to her family. Few congregations can offer physical sanctuary – but we at Two Rivers can. And we are so grateful to be able to help families, parents like Yesenia, Sondra, Arturo and Jeanette.
Sanctuary is a benchmark, and we will keep moving forward. Yesterday I attended a working city council hearing in which 8th graders from Carbondale Middle School presented a proposal for the city to do outreach and have more bilingual police officers. There is a hunger in our community to have love resist the forces that would tear this valley apart. There is a need to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of each person no matter where they were born or the language they speak. There is a need for Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist to show people a way towards healing and wholeness. That is what it means to be a Sanctuary Congregation.