The Refugee Internment Camp at Harlingen, Texas
1989 Resolution of Immediate Witness
BECAUSE, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and
BECAUSE, Unitarian Universalists have historically come to the defense of persons denied basic human rights and justice; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has recently opened a 5000-inmate tent prison at Harlingen, Texas, for the detention of Central American Refugees, which six Roman Catholic bishops have called "the largest concentration camp in America since the internment of the Japanese";
WHEREAS, inconsistent with the pursuit of justice, asylum hearings there last only ten to fifteen minutes;
WHEREAS, refugees denied asylum are immediately jailed, and bail set beyond almost any refugee's ability to pay;
WHEREAS, affordable legal resources are inadequate, effectively denying the legal representation essential to justice;
WHEREAS, refugees who obtain bond are denied work permits, forcing them and their families into hunger and poverty; and
WHEREAS, these new INS policies constitute a comprehensive and shocking denial of basic human rights and due process which are the cornerstones of United States and international law;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the 1989 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon the United States Congress and federal administration to end their brutal and immoral policies, and return the INS to the rule of law and respect for human rights;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that we request the Administration of the Unitarian Universalist Association to investigate the status of lawsuits filed in connection with this issue and, if appropriate, to file briefs as friend-of-the-court on behalf of the refugees; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: that we urge all Unitarian Universalist congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists to inform themselves on this issue, and to raise it with legislators and the public, to begin to redress the evil being done.
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