STATEMENT — “For the sake of children and families” — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Strongly Opposes New DHS Immigration Enforcement Guidelines

February 21, 2017

Press Contacts:
Miji Bell
mbell@lirs.org; 410-230-2841

Michelle Blundell
mblundell@mrss.com; 202-478-6176

WASHINGTON, DC – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) strongly opposes the new guidelines announced Friday by the Department of Homeland Security to significantly expand and expedite enforcement and removal priorities for undocumented immigrants.

“These new guidelines are causing incredible fear among many vulnerable immigrants and puts them at tremendous risk,” says Linda Hartke, President and CEO. “As Americans and as people of faith, we should all be appalled at these actions. Of course we all want to keep our country and communities safe, but that is not achieved by demonizing some of our most vulnerable neighbors and tearing families apart. For the sake of children and families, the safety and protection of those who have been forced from their homelands in fear for their lives should be a priority as well as keeping families together.”

Allowing immigration officials to swiftly remove and deport people – including children and mothers and fathers who pose no risk to our communities – at their sole discretion, and without an immigration hearing, is contrary to the value we place as Americans on fairness and due process under the law. Expedited deportation will surely result in returning some immigrants back to the same dangerous circumstances from which they fled.

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Founded in 1939, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the United States. It is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations. Through more than 75 years of service and advocacy, LIRS has helped over 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.