End Immigrant Child and Family Detention Now 2015 Action of Immediate Witness

WHEREAS, our Unitarian Universalist values call on us to honor the inherent worth and dignity of every person;

WHEREAS, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) of congregations affirmed in its 2013 Statement of Conscience on Immigration as a Moral Issue that a moral immigration policy would provide alternatives to detention for those not considered a threat to society and humane treatment for those being detained;

WHEREAS, the recently enacted practice of family detention is inconsistent with our Unitarian Universalist values;

WHEREAS, thousands of children and their mothers have been coming to the United States during the past two years to escape violence in their Central American home countries;

WHEREAS, these women and children are treated without dignity, without access to sanitary conditions, clean water, or healthy food, and are forced to wear prison clothes;

WHEREAS, immigrants imprisoned in detention centers, (including, but not limited to, former prisons and for-profit detention centers operating under deplorable conditions), often experience permanent psychological damage, physical violence, and emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse during their incarceration;

WHEREAS, these women and children are generally not considered to be a threat, nor do they meet the Department of Homeland Security priority categories; and

WHEREAS, there are many other ways, with documented success, that the government can ensure that immigrants appear at their hearings, such as non-profit shelters and family or community placements, that can connect them with needed services and U.S. relatives (when applicable).

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the United States government to treat all immigrants humanely, and in particular to use alternatives to incarceration to ensure that immigrants appear at their hearings;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association calls on President Obama, Congress, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to close the family detention centers and immediately release those detained who do not meet priority criteria; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2015 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association encourages member congregations to take actions, such as:

  1. Educating ourselves and others about the family detention centers (“UU World”, May 8, 2015);
  2. Signing the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s petition calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the White House to end family detention;
  3. Reaching out to and partnering with community organizations in their area working to end family detention, including connecting with groups organizing visits to detention centers;
  4. Contacting elected officials and encouraging them to stand on the side of love and end family detention by closing family detention centers; and
  5. Connecting with and supporting Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE) in their work connecting and supporting Unitarian Universalists, member congregations, and state advocacy networks in their work for immigrant justice.