Bishop Mariann spoke outside the White House as part of Sanctuary DMV‘s launch event. The following is her statement.
In US law, there is no provision for “sanctuary,” no legal grounding upon which to stand for those who wish to stand in solidarity and support for our immigrant friends, neighbors, and members of our faith communities who fear deportation for themselves and their loved ones.
For us sanctuary is grounded in the love we are called by God to offer one another. It is, for our faith communities, a matter of pastoral care.
Yet we also deeply lament the ways in which the national debate on immigration has been compromised by false characterizations and prejudice against immigrants, and in particular immigrants of color. The criminalization of undocumented status, the stoking of fear and resentment, and unwillingness to consider comprehensive reform of our immigration laws is creating fear and separating families.
Therefore, sanctuary is also our witness in our communities and to our political leaders: as a nation we are always at our best when we welcome immigrants, and our worst, when we fear and criminalize their place in our land. We, as people of faith and citizens of this nation of immigrants, believe that we can turn back from the dangerous path we’re on and live as welcoming people, celebrating diversity, and showing compassion to those who have come here, as many of our ancestors did, seeking peace and safety for themselves and their children.
I give thanks for all who are standing compassionately and courageously with our immigrant neighbors, and encourage everyone to consider how you might learn more about what our immigrant communities are experiencing right now. If you’d like to learn more about the breadth of possible ways of supporting immigrants under the umbrella of sanctuary, please visit Sanctuary DMV’s website. For those who want to stand with Veronica as she faces her next check-in, mark your calendars for April 4th. And may we all do what we can in every circle of influence we have to change the tone, tenor and direction our national conversation on immigration.