Because of persistent public pressure, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday reversing the administration’s practice of forcibly separating children from their parents. I thank God for the faithful witness of thousands of United Methodists reflecting Christ’s love and compassion into this broken world.

This action does not, however, solve the problem.

While this executive order ends the practice of family separation, it continues what the administration calls a “zero tolerance” policy. This now means that families seeking refuge in the United States can be held together, in detention, indefinitely.

Our United Methodist Social Principles and Resolution #3281 are clear: we support policies that compassionately welcome immigrants and respect their human rights.

Policies that jail families — whether separately or together — fail to reflect our shared values of compassion, dignity, justice and love. Our options are not limited to jailing families together or jailing parents and children separately.

Alternatives to family detention, such as the Family Case Management Program, have been shown to be compassionate and effective. The administration terminated this program last year and instituted “zero tolerance” policies in its place this year.

We must continue the outpouring of compassion and action that ended the administration’s immoral and unjust practice of family separation. We must continue to work for a world in which:

  • Children who are detained are compassionately cared for.
  • Families who are separated are reunited.
  • Families will not be held indefinitely.
  • Workers should no longer fear workplace raids disrupting family and community.
  • Survivors of domestic abuse and gang violence have asylum protections reinstated.
  • DACA recipients are cared for through a legislative solution that leads to a pathway to citizenship.

The current state of our immigration policies is anything but compassionate and effective.

The U.S. House of Representatives is voting today on immigration legislation. Call your member at 202.224.3121 and make sure your voice is heard. You can share that The United Methodist Church calls for “the United States government to immediately cease all arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based on their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.“

Our Church calls us to welcome the migrant, and we must do that in our churches, communities and governmental systems.

Our witness cannot stop now.