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IMMIGRATION AGENTS IN OUR JAILS MAKE NEW YORK COMMUNITIES LESS SAFE

April 15, 2011

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO MAYOR’S POSITION ON IMMIGRANTS AT RIKERS ISLAND

April 15, 2011

New York – As faith leaders who have served immigrant communities for years, we understand the effect the city’s policy has on the community. Mr. Feinblatt unfortunately misunderstands that New York’s collaboration with ICE pushes people away from the police and violates the spirit of the Executive Order he touts so highly. The resulting deportations are a moral outrage, and we cannot stand idly by while the city participates in an unjust system at the taxpayers’ expense.

When we speak with our congregants they make no distinction between the NYPD and ICE. And why should they?  So many the police take away end up deported. Children who lose fathers and parents who lose children are highly unlikely to be cooperative or to trust the police should they be the victims of or witnesses to a crime. How can it be a good idea for public safety to drive entire communities of people away from those we want them to trust the most?

The fact is that the city helps deport anyone ICE wants, regardless of whether they’ve had their day in court or not. They help ICE tear families apart, the vast majority of whom should never have been put in the situation in the first place. We cannot stand by while this policy continues to violate our fundamental values of hospitality, of welcoming the stranger in our midst.

SIGNED

Rev. Fabian Arias, co-chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

Rev. Susan Switzer, co-chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

Jean Montrevil, co-chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

Rev. Bob Coleman, The Riverside Church

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Judson Memorial Church

Rev. Michael Ellick, Judson Memorial Church

Rev. Giovanny Sanchez, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Brooklyn.

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Shaykh TA Bashir, House of Peace

Rev. David Rommereim, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Brooklyn

Rev. Mark Marsh, Victoria Congregational Church, Queens

Sr. Katherine Hamm, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Lily Butler, Sisters of Charity

Rev. Cheri Kroon, Flatbush Reformed Church, Brooklyn

Rev. Tom Martinez, All Souls Bethlehem Church, Brooklyn

Rev. Elice Higginbotham, Metropolitan Association, NY Conference, UCC

Monsignor James Kelly, St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church, Brooklyn

Rev. Omar Almonte, Central Baptist Church, Brooklyn

Bishop Michael J. Champion, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

Rev. Bruce Southworth, The Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Anthony P. Johnson, The Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Kaji Rosa Spellman, Saint Peter’s Church

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