An interfaith prayer vigil outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service offices in Portland, Ore., Sept. 17, 2007. Religion News Service photo by Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian.

An ethical analysis of the ‘New Sanctuary Movement’

The "New Sanctuary Movement" is under considerable discussion these days. What exactly people mean by "sanctuary" is not always clear, but the basic idea is to help undocumented immigrants in their struggle to avoid deportation under U.S. immigration laws.

I encountered the first "Sanctuary Movement" in the 1980s, when some churches organized to shelter Salvadorans and Guatemalans who were at risk of being sent back to their violent and repressive homelands during the Reagan administration. Since then the concept has never really gone away, and it is spiking today as the new Trump administration has made clear its intent to heighten immigration-law enforcement.

In my role as interim pastor, I have been asked to consider affiliating our church with an organization that is creating a sanctuary movement in Atlanta. Moral issues look different when you are not just cogitating but have leadership responsibility for a community or an organization.

I have decided to make public my reasoning process related to this request. Perhaps this may be helpful to others. I invite your feedback on this post, which will be longer than usual.

First, a preliminary word. Considering requests such as this can take up a surprising amount of time when you are a pastor. People within and outside the church regularly approach me with requests for us to host events, sign on to causes, or align our church with other organizations.

This has created in me a certain reticence. How much pastoral time is rightly devoted to examining various requests, when they come in pretty much every week? If you say yes once, where do you stop? What are the internal congregational implications of saying yes to some causes and no to others?

This time I decided to take the time to study the “ask” letter closely. It came to me via email and appears to represent a new organization, Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta.

I don’t see this organization online but the basic concept is easily accessible. Today there are sanctuary cities and also sanctuary churches. I think sanctuary efforts raise very different issues depending on whether they are civic or religious. The request I received was to consider aligning our church with an “interfaith, multicultural immigrant rights organization” involving individuals and congregations.

The stated core beliefs of SMA are the following:

  • “All human beings are loved by their creator and deserving of a safe place to live, work and worship without fear, without regard to nationality, ethnicity, religion …immigration status,” etc.;
  • “We have a responsibility to ensure the welfare of all in our decision making, and to hold…governments…accountable”;
  • “We reject laws that seek to unjustly discriminate against persons or limit their rights”;
  • “We reject using power or speech to bully, intimidate, threaten, or cause emotional or physical violence.”

The reasons to become an SMA member are the following:

  • “Your congregation will become a visible, prophetic witness and leader in our community by making an intentional public stand that declares your faithful commitment to ‘welcoming the stranger’ in our midst”;
  • Your congregation can make a “faithful response to an invitation from the immigrant community to walk with them and follow their lead as they fight for and insist on justice”;
  • Affiliating will “connect you to a dynamic social justice movement and a diverse network of Atlanta congregations and individuals”;
  • Affiliating will “put your faith into action”;
  • Affiliating will give you “the opportunity to journey with an immigrant and/or family facing deportation.”

The specific acts requested of SMA "Member Congregations" are the following:

  • “Provide visibility for immigration issues…within your congregation by amplifying the moral imperative to stop deportations…”;
  • “Organize with SMA’s immigrant justice campaigns”;
  • “Provide support to an immigrant and/or family living in a Safe Sanctuary Church.” Under this heading is included apparent plans for housing (hiding) immigrants facing deportations in churches or church-owned properties, and meeting all their relevant needs on site.

Finally, there is an SMA Pledge, or covenant, in which the SMA congregation “pledge(s) to resist the newly elected administration’s policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will commit to support the work of sanctuary for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.”

My own social-justice commitments are no secret to those who know me or my work. But in this case, I am troubled by what I consider to be questionable assumptions and conceptual confusions in the letter I received. I would like to try to sort through them.

If you ask me, as pastor, whether my church is or should be a "sanctuary church," I say:

Yes, in the sense that in the preaching and teaching of our local congregation, we teach the equal dignity and worth of each human being, their status as beloved by God, and the Christian obligation to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our church is a sanctuary from racism, indignity, and grading people's worth based on their citizenship status or ethnicity.

I say Yes, again, in terms of the membership and life of the local congregation, because “Any baptized person receives an unrestricted privilege to participate in all areas of communal life of the Body of Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). The church is a community of those who have committed their lives to follow Jesus. In this faith community, citizenship status is irrelevant, as are all other earthly identity markers. No one checks driver’s licenses or passports at the baptistry or the Communion table.

I say Yes, a third time, in the sense that in all ministries of the local congregation, citizenship status is irrelevant. When people come to our church looking for sack lunches or a coat, we don’t check their papers. If someone participates in one of the dozens of programs on our campus, we don’t check their documents.

I say Yes, a fourth time, in the sense that if immigration-enforcement officials ever seek to enter our buildings to check papers, interrogate, or detain people who are participating in the life or services of our church, we would cooperate only to the minimum extent required by law. Even though the state apparently has the legal right to come into a church to enforce immigration law, actually doing so would be a highly provocative act.

So those are four ways in which I would think that any church, certainly our church, could be said to be a "sanctuary church."

And here's a fifth way. If we, or some of our members, feel a strong tug of compassion toward aiding those negatively affected by enhanced immigration-law enforcement, we are free to devote resources to providing aid.

For example, we could support legal aid efforts to immigrants facing deportation proceedings. We could support or directly offer child care in tragic cases in which a citizen-child loses a parent to arrest or deportation. We could meet all kinds of material needs. As pastor, I will urge my congregation to consider devoting missions dollars and personal resources, time, and expertise to such efforts.

However, if by becoming a "sanctuary church" one means sheltering possible deportees in our building or organizing our membership to do the same in their homes, it is a very different question.

This sixth approach moves into the category of lawbreaking. If we announce that we are planning to break the law by sheltering people facing deportation, and then do so, that's classic civil disobedience in its public form. It would be an open violation of an obviously unjust law, in which the lawbreaker invites prosecution in order to highlight the injustice of the law. If we did that at our church, I would probably end up in jail, and those we were (loudly) sheltering would likely be caught and deported.

If on the other hand we were to covertly break the law by providing our church or our homes as sanctuary, we would still be breaking the law, and subject to prosecution.

The general Christian obligation to submit to government authority (Romans 13), and the grave possible consequences of flouting federal (and perhaps local) law, mean that any move to covert or overt civil disobedience raises the most serious questions.

One way to frame those questions is this: does U.S. immigration law, or the government’s current enforcement of it, represent such a clear and profound violation of the purpose of law, of justice, and of human rights, that conscientious Christian churches and individuals are permitted or even obligated to violate the law in response?

There are many such cases in human history. Despite my sympathy for undocumented immigrants, I do not believe this is one of them. We have to draw a distinction between laws that we think could be improved versus laws that are an inversion of the very purpose of law, and therefore fundamentally unjust.

While for over a decade I have supported a much different approach (“comprehensive immigration reform”) for dealing with our broken immigration law and its haphazard enforcement, I cannot agree with the SMA's blanket claim that heightening the enforcement of our existing immigration laws is obviously "unjust" and "discriminatory" or motivated by "fear" or "hatred."

The problem surfaces very early in the SMA request letter, when it states that “all human beings are loved by their creator and deserving of a safe place to live, work, and worship,” so therefore U.S. immigration policy is immoral.

It is undoubtedly true that God loves everyone, and that people need a safe place to live, work and worship.

But this cannot mean that every human being has a right to live in any country that they might choose. This would imply that either there should be no immigration laws in any country, or that such laws should never be enforced.

Consider this example: God loves me and wants me to have a safe place to live, but this does not mean that, say, Finland has a moral or legal obligation to let me live there indefinitely in violation of their immigration laws. Finland would certainly not agree that I have such a right. No country would agree. There is a category confusion here that matters a great deal.

What our nation’s policies should be on immigration, and immigration enforcement; what to do for, with, and about 11 million immigrants who are here illegally, along with many of their children and family members who are American citizens, is a highly complex matter of public policy that has remained unsolved for decades. Congress tried and failed several times over the last two decades to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which included a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million along with enhanced border security. I far prefer that approach and hope it makes a comeback. But it is too simple just to say that the United States is violating “justice” and “rights” if it simply enforces its existing immigration laws. Undoubtedly there are many violations of justice and rights in the immigration-enforcement process, but I cannot agree that any immigration-law enforcement is by definition unjust.

If our government were to start targeting and deporting a group of its own citizens, such as Baptists or Jews or Mormons or Muslims or citizens of Swedish or Somali descent, then we would have a clear, flagrant violation of the Constitution and American laws, and the strongest forms of protest and resistance would be demanded of all of us. But we are talking about noncitizens, who are here illegally. That is a very different kind of public policy question, and the difference should not be missed.

I have named five ways in which our church could and should be viewed as a "sanctuary church" and one way which seems to go too far and which I cannot advocate. I urge all advocates of the New Sanctuary Movement to become clear and precise in exactly what you mean to advocate and the grounds on which you are making your case.

Comments

  1. The sanctuary movement supporters would be better to put their energies into correcting the problems that exist in the countries of origin of these economic immigrants who either illegally entered or stayed beyond their visa in this country .

  2. Our nation would be better off putting energies into going after immigration violators who have a violent criminal record rather than waste law enforcement resources, immigration court dockets and detention center space on inoffensive, largely productive people. The only people benefiting from this are politicians seeking to use nativism/bigotry as campaign points and the private prison lobby which hopes to profit off of warehousing people.

    The current roundup effort has the effect of enabling further exploitation of illegal alien labor. It destroys potential trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities (even ones of largely legal immigrants), it makes illegal labor and human trafficking more profitable and ensures those being exploited are unlikely to report public hazards caused by facilities which use their labor.

  3. Would your church give any “sanctuary” – or would it bystand – to members of local police force who “blew whistles” about racist, violent, colleagues by doing things as: 1) calling for an objective resolution to their concerns about the wrongdoing to the public, 2) calling for an objective resolution to the all-too-likely subsequent claims of workplace retribution, and/or 3) rebuking the police force if the whistleblower’s claims – either of his initial whistleblowing or subsequent workplace reprisal – were substantiated? If so, your church could be unique in America and would be showing that it “learned a lesson” from German churches and their bystanding to Hitler’s rise.

  4. Unfortunately, the author resorts to a less, but still evident, form of nationalism that would be anathema to Jesus. Jesus would not consider anyone to be “illegal” nor would he impose any form of immigration laws to those in need.

    Millions of refugees are in need of safety from war zones, and Jesus would not take time to argue the ethical intricacies of actually assisting them. Compassion dictates we treat others as we’d want to be treated.

    We are all one world, and all persons are our brothers and sisters and neighbors in Christ’s view. We are to be devoted to this inclusive theology of Christ, and not national loyalties that set up borders and policies of division. Jesus’ encounters with foreigners such as Samaritans, Syro-phonetians, Cyrenians and others indicate that we are all siblings created by the same God. We wouldn’t set up or legitimize immigration policies for our siblings. But according to Jesus’ inclusive view, this is precisely what we are doing.

    — Rev. Bret S. Myers, 3/21/2017

  5. “All human beings are loved by their creator and deserving of a safe
    place to live, work and worship without fear, without regard to
    nationality, ethnicity, religion…immigration status,” etc.;

    Above we find the first SMA core value. It’s very naive and idyllic. indeed some here in our own country still lack some of these amenities.

    The biggest problem with a church offering sanctuary to an illegal alien comes from the fact that they can never know the status of that person, regarding whether or not they have a criminal record. Many churches today risk unknowingly harboring criminal fugitives from the law back in their home country.

    The whole sanctuary movement is built on the fantasy that illegals will cooperate with local police, thereby contributing to the safety of the community. This is ABSURD on it’s face! Most illegals have a strong fear and distrust of ALL police, as anyone connected with law enforcement and the legal system in their home countries are horrendously corrupt, and take advantage of the poor. Illegal immigrants here are content to avoid the police by keeping quiet and staying out of sight. If one of them did cooperate with the police concerning a criminal act committed by one of their countrymen–illegal or not, that person would certainly be the victim of horrible reprisals, since there are no secrets in such tight-knit communities.

    Sanctuary, indeed!

  6. Unfortunately, neither SMA nor Dr. Gushee bring to bear a centrally salient factor for moral discernment on the responsibility of American churches to Mexican and Central American undocumented immigrants. That is the impact and responsibility of U.S. trade and economic policies for generating economic refugees coming to the U.S. There’s a compelling case to be made for that impact, which would weigh heavily in favor of U.S. church responsibility to extend its disobedience toward Caesar further in protection from deportation. Ethicists sometimes hesitate to make an assessment of economic policies, even more than economists do, but sometimes the work demands it. Especially if American churches’ constituents, through negligent acquiescence or active ideological collusion, facilitated the adoption of exploitative trade agreements that robbed subsistence farmers and laborers of sustainable markets or organizing rights.

  7. “The biggest problem with a church offering sanctuary to an illegal alien
    comes from the fact that they can never know the status of that person,
    regarding whether or not they have a criminal record.”

    Unfortunately due to the wide sweeping nature of the latest effort to round up of illegal aliens, it encourages those giving sanctuary not to discern whether the people are harmless and inoffensive or some kind of violent/organized criminal.

    If they were distrustful of police in their home countries, the latest effort makes it even worse. There is no incentive for immigrant communities here to cooperate with police (even if one is a legal immigrant) and deal with the violent and dangerous criminals in their midst. If they cooperated with police here to point out a violent criminal in their community, they risk deportation. This is especially galling when in the past it would not be noted by the local authorities.

  8. Among other problems, this article bills itself as an ethical “analysis” but fails to provide any actual ethical analysis of the current immigration system itself. According to the article, civil disobedience is acceptable if it moves against “a clear and profound violation of the purpose of law, of justice, and of human rights.” However, the only defense of the current system is the author finds it difficult to believe that “the United States is violating “justice” and “rights” if it simply enforces its existing immigration laws.” What does the author think about those immigration laws? Why are they not a clear violation of those principles?

    The author claims that the argument of the sanctuary movement is not sufficient or clear, but some pretty simple research will show that the claims of the movement are much more specific than what is described here. Specifically, that “simple enforcement” would remove millions of members of communities that have lived in the U.S. for well over a decade and now call the country home, would split families who grew up together in the U.S., would send people back to war or violence torn countries that some have never lived in, and discriminates against the poor and certain races based on the prioritization of high skilled workers and people from certain countries, to name just a few.

    Yes, comprehensive immigration reform is preferable, inasmuch as it ideally prevents the need for civil disobedience. No, it is not at all clear that the current immigration system does not justify civil disobedience based on a coherent reading of scripture, and certainly not based on the information provided here. I would expect an analysis that excuses inaction in the face of current immigration policies to actually address the policies described, not just a straw man representation of the sanctuary movement.

  9. Any time someone participates in an illegal activity such as being in a country illegally or selling drugs, etc., there is good reason to stay away from law enforcement. When we are willing and able to take care of our own people (good education, job training, and full employment in living wage jobs), then is the time to open wide the gates of legal immigration. Poor peasants from Central America only bring more poverty here and have children who are ill prepared to compete in a modern urban economy with living wage jobs. By cracking down hard on those who employ illegal immigrants, illegal aliens will leave on their own or not even try to stay here. I am not against legal immigrants who have the skills to compete in our modern economy and can support themselves and their families without undermining the ability of the citizens of this nation to have decent paying jobs. Those who have graduated from American universities or technical colleges are welcomed. Those who are legitimate refugees for which no reasonable alternative exists are welcome. We should adopt a merit system based on skill for allowing non refugees in to this country.

  10. As the author of the letter you received, I want to thank you for engaging in this important conversation. Though I cannot agree with every point you make, you have highlighted some vital points that do
    need further clarification.

    I don’t believe that moral issues look different based upon one’s leadership responsibility in the church.
    Our response, however, to a moral issue, is dependent upon the abilities of a community of faith to respond to those moral issues. There are multiple issues in our community and in the world to which my
    church members can respond, but they have chosen to focus their energies and passion toward the plight of undocumented immigrants. Will that mean that we say “no” to other invitations we will receive? Probably so. As a respected pastor and former moderator of our denomination once said . . . “There are hundreds of good things we could be doing at any given time, numberless needs in the world that could be addressed in God’s name. But not all of these are necessarily our personal responsibility as
    individuals or congregations. God means for us to take on some needs while other needs constitute a calling for other churches. Each congregation must discover its own mission; each one must discern what is beside its name on God’s to-do list.” (Joan S. Gray, Sailboat Church, Helping Your Church Rethink Its Mission and Practice, page 67)

    The invitation you received actually provides a wide range of options for any faith community can participate in the Sanctuary Movement. Your four item checklist is right on the mark for any Christian disciple who follows Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. However, the invitation does not imply that joining our movement means you have to physically accept deportees into your building. That
    is, of course, is one option. But the letter also highlights several other important ways to support a church that might choose to host an undocumented immigrant including:

    Pray for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to spend day and/or night shifts on location in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to provide meals to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to provide medical care to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to provide daily prayer services for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to pick up, wash, and return clothes to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Volunteer to host entertainment events for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Donate clothing.
    Donate furniture.
    Donate money to support the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    Provide legal services.

    Regarding your assertion that housing an undocumented immigrant is tantamount to breaking the law which could result in the arrest and incarceration of a pastor: well, yes. You are correct. That could
    happen. I’m willing to take that risk.

    However, when a church offers sanctuary, it is not “harboring” or “concealing” an individual from the
    authorities or the public. If an individual (a mother or a father) seeks sanctuary in the church I serve, he or she will not be hidden away. The act of sanctuary will be openly shared with the entire community in the hopes that the person will eventually receive a new immigration status that will allow him or her to remain in this country and to keep a family together.

    And yes, I agree with you that the United States is in dire need of new comprehensive immigration reform. One of the foundations of the Sanctuary Movement is to continue to place the spotlight on that very issue with the goal of enacting new and just immigration legislation. The very act of providing sanctuary is to keep this process, no matter how slow and partisan it seems to be, in the spotlight.

    I would also hope that we will not lose our eyes of compassion for the individual in need. We can talk in terms of 11 million immigrants and never once build a relationship with a mother or father who is just trying to take care of their family with the hope for a better future for their children. Illegal or not, each
    and every one of them is a child of God. I don’t believe Jesus ever worried too much about borders in
    his ministry.

    The Sanctuary Movement is about God’s law, and takes a stand of love and justice in the face of oppression and indifference. The Sanctuary Movement is about standing with the immigrant families when the rest of the world, head in the sand, ignores them. The Sanctuary Movement is about preventing children from being separated from their parents. The Sanctuary Movement is about obeying the commands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to love our neighbor as ourselves. And who is my neighbor? Is anyone excluded? Not in the eyes of Jesus Christ. But sometimes God’s law stands in opposition to the laws of this land.

    In conclusion, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, recently adopted the Belhar Confession, written in South Africa during the time of apartheid. The following section from that
    confession is often used by our church in worship. I call your attention the sentence that begins with the words “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ…”. I believe that is the essence of Christ’s call to radical discipleship when we follow him.

    “We believe that God has revealed God’s self as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people; that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the
    destitute, the poor, and the wronged, and that God calls the church to follow in this. For God brings
    justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry. God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind. God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows, and blocks the path of the ungodly.

    “We believe that pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering, that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right, and that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need—witnessing and striving against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

    “We believe that the church, possessed by God, must stand where the Lord stands—against injustice
    and with the wronged. In following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

    “Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

    “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ, its only head, the church is called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment
    and suffering be the consequence.

    “Jesus is Lord. To the one and only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory forever and ever.”

    It is my hope that faith communities throughout this country will take the time to pray for the immigrants who have come to this nation in search of a better life. I would also hope that faith communities would take time to study the issue of immigration theologically, through the eyes of scripture.

    And then? Who knows where God will lead us?

    Shalom in Christ,

    Rev. Tom Hagood
    Columbia Presbyterian Church
    Decatur, Georgia

  11. Your response is largely ignorant as to what goes on with illegal aliens, immigration law enforcement and what is going on now. There is a ton of nonsense in there which needs to be broken down here.

    “Any time someone participates in an illegal activity such as being in a
    country illegally or selling drugs, etc., there is good reason to stay
    away from law enforcement.”

    Except prior to the latest crackdown, illegal aliens generally didn’t stay away from law enforcement. They reported crimes. Immigration law is not the same as criminal law. Law enforcement officers/agents didn’t get involved in immigration matters. A drug dealer has to actively deal drugs to be committing a violation of the law. An illegal alien violates immigration by simply existing. A terrible analogy. But whereas in the past illegal aliens WOULD cooperate with the police because they knew that it would not result in deportation, now they clam up. Worse still immigrant communities of largely legal aliens would not cooperate either out of fear of being put through the immigration ringer under false pretenses or as an intimidation tool of law enforcement.

    “When we are willing and able to take care of our own people (good
    education, job training, and full employment in living wage jobs), then
    is the time to open wide the gates of legal immigration. ”

    Immigration also brings in money, expands markets and jobs to the country as well. Your POV limits foreign investment in the US and doesn’t do squat to protect jobs of our own people. Every measure people put to allegedly protect American workers backfires and simply makes immigrant labor easier to exploit. It simply doesn’t work the way you think it does and never has. Immigration is what keeps markets alive and our workforce population stable. It is why every developed nation imports labor these days. Even the ones who don’t admit to having immigration policies.

    “Poor peasants from Central America only bring more poverty here and have children who are ill prepared to compete in a modern urban economy with living wage jobs.”

    This is completely false. Many citizens are children of poor immigrant parents (what you might call “anchor babies” in a pejorative) thrive here. Citizenship by birth is the best tool for integrating immigrant populations and has a great effect on subsequent generations of immigrant families. Local state DREAM acts prove that Illegal aliens who came here as children are upwardly mobile enough to attend higher education in significant numbers when barriers are removed.

    ” By cracking down hard on those who employ illegal immigrants, illegal aliens will leave on their own or not even try to stay here. ”

    Hasn’t worked yet. 60 years of doing so has shown no results. Catch and deport simply makes it easier to exploit illegal alien labor. New ideas are needed. Illegal alien populations move with the economy. There is no such thing as a disincentive to coming here like that. There is no way we can make conditions here worse than the hellholes most came from. My idea is to make illegal entry/overstay with no other violations subject to a stiff fine. It makes the offense more proportional and still provides punishment.

    ” We should adopt a merit system based on skill for allowing non refugees in to this country.”

    The majority of immigration visas are family based. Our work visa system is wildly dysfunctional and contributes to 25% of our illegal alien population in an unnecessary fashion. Family based visas are not based on merit unless you consider being born or marrying someone a meritorious act. But family based visas work when properly funded and adequately administrated.

    If you are losing jobs to illegal aliens, it is a sign of failure of the education system. That one is so unskilled and uneducated that they are only good for mindless menial labor. A waste of the opportunities of citizenship in a developed nation. Aliens on work visas are largely here because of the difficulty in finding Americans with the sought for skillsets (language, STEM educations…)

  12. As the author of the letter you received, I want to thank you for engaging in this important conversation.
    Though I cannot agree with every point you make, you have highlighted some vital points that do need further clarification.

    I don’t believe that moral issues look different based upon one’s leadership responsibility in the church. Our response, however, to a moral issue, is dependent upon the abilities of a community of faith to respond to those moral issues. There are multiple issues in our community and in the world to which my church members can respond, but they have chosen to focus their energies and passion toward the plight of undocumented immigrants. Will that mean that we say “no” to other invitations we will receive? Probably so. As a respected pastor and former moderator of our denomination once said, “There are hundreds of good things we could be doing at any given time, numberless needs in the world that could be addressed in God’s name. But not all of these are necessarily our personal responsibility as individuals or congregations. God means for us to take on some needs while other needs constitute a calling for other churches. Each congregation must discover its own mission; each one must discern what is beside its name on God’s to-do list.” (Joan S. Gray, Sailboat Church, Helping Your Church Rethink Its Mission and Practice, page 67)

    The invitation you received actually provides a wide range of options for any faith community can participate in the Sanctuary Movement. Your four item checklist is right on the mark for any Christian disciple who follows Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. However, the invitation does not imply that joining our movement means you have to physically accept deportees into your building. That is, of course, is one option. But the letter also highlights several other important ways to support a church that might choose to host an undocumented immigrant including:

    *Pray for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to spend day and/or night shifts on location in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to provide meals to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to provide medical care to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to provide daily prayer services for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to pick up, wash, and return clothes to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Volunteer to host entertainment events for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Donate clothing.
    *Donate furniture.
    *Donate money to support the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    *Provide legal services.

    Regarding your assertion that housing an undocumented immigrant is tantamount to breaking the law which could result in the arrest and incarceration of a pastor: well, yes. You are correct. That could happen. I’m willing to take that risk.

    However, when a church offers sanctuary, it is not “harboring” or “concealing” an individual from the
    authorities or the public. If an individual (a mother or a father) seeks sanctuary in the church I serve, he or she will not be hidden away. The act of sanctuary will be openly shared with the entire community in the hopes that the person will eventually receive a new immigration status that will allow him or
    her to remain in this country and to keep a family together.

    And yes, I agree with you that the United States is in dire need of new comprehensive immigration reform. One of the foundations of the Sanctuary Movement is to continue to place the spotlight
    on that very issue with the goal of enacting new and just immigration legislation. The very act of providing sanctuary is to keep this process, no matter how slow and partisan it seems to be, in the spotlight.

    I would also hope that we will not lose our eyes of compassion for the individual in need. We can talk in terms of 11 million immigrants and never once build a relationship with a mother or father who is just trying to take care of their family with the hope for a better future for their children. Illegal or not, each and every one of them is a child of God. I don’t believe Jesus ever worried too much about borders in
    his ministry.

    The Sanctuary Movement is about God’s law, and takes a stand of love and justice in the face of oppression and indifference. The Sanctuary Movement is about standing with the immigrant families when the rest of the world, head in the sand, ignores them. The Sanctuary Movement is about preventing children from being separated from their parents. The Sanctuary Movement is about obeying the commands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to love our neighbor as ourselves. And who is my neighbor? Is anyone excluded? Not in the eyes of Jesus Christ. But sometimes God’s
    law stands in opposition to the laws of this land.

    In conclusion, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, recently adopted the Belhar Confession, written in South Africa during the time of apartheid. The following section from that
    confession is often used by our church in worship. I would call attention to the section that begins with the words, “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ”. I believe that is the essence of Christ’s call to radical discipleship when we follow him.

    “We believe that God has revealed God’s self as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people; that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor, and the wronged, and that God calls the church to follow in this. For God brings
    justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry. God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind. God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows, and blocks the path of the ungodly.

    “We believe that pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering, that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right, and that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need—witnessing and striving against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

    “We believe that the church, possessed by God, must stand where the Lord stands—against injustice and with the wronged. In following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

    “Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is
    unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

    “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ, its only head, the church is called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment and suffering be the consequence.

    “Jesus is Lord. To the one and only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory forever and ever.

    It is my hope that faith communities throughout this country will take the time to pray for the immigrants who have come to this nation in search of a better life. I would also hope that faith communities would take time to study the issue of immigration theologically, through the eyes of scripture.

    And then? Who knows where God will lead us?

  13. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and searching, as I have in your thoughts on other topics, as well as the seriousness with which you take the decision to commit acts of civil disobedience. Such acts should be thought over and prayed over. However, in your conclusion that the situation of undocumented people in the US does not demand such a response, I believe you have not devoted serious enough attention to actually investigating and understanding the conditions undocumented people are facing, which the Sanctuary Movement seeks to alleviate or stop. Many are fleeing such violence, danger, and human rights violations in their country of origin that it is indeed a clear immoral act to deport, one worthy of the high level required to justify civil disobedience. Others would be torn from children and family and other dependents in the US, unnecessarily creating suffering and injustices that we have a Christian responsibility to prevent. The very existence of deportation efforts promotes intense violence, as it discourages the reporting of rape and domestic violence by some of our nation’s most vulnerable women and children (out of fear police will deport the reporters). Given the clear differences between the way immigration has been enforced towards European visa violators and Latin American ones, the unGodly racism at work is neither subtle nor debatable. I do have an ethical and faith-based conviction (rooted in the experience of the Israelites, Ruth, and Mary and Joseph fleeing political oppression) that our borders should be much more open and that it is our national moral responsibility to welcome as many as we can who wish to come. It sounds like you don’t share that conviction. But I think even differing in our sense of what ideal immigration policy should be, there is still much evidence that the current situation of undocumented immigrants in the US is inhumane and immoral, and is inhumane to such an extent (and through reversable policy choices, not inevitable tragedy) that Christians may be called to the riskiest and boldest forms of direct resistance to it. I hope in your continued prayerful thinking you find ways to listen to or speak with undocumented immigrants and families directly, to gain greater understanding of the profound injustices you seem to be dismissing or perhaps underestimating in this piece. It is not simply an abstract question of justified or unjustified law – it is s flesh and blood question of millions of people put in unjust and untenable circumstances. Thank you for your consideration.

  14. But then Jesus declined, did he not, to articulate a specific and complete political theory?

    If we must project personal obligations (e.g., to have “compassion”) onto government, as Rev. Myers’ does, then we must transform our criminal code as well. “Compassion,” after all, does not imprison but rather forgives, does not levy a fine but gives money to the wrongdoer.

    We make a critical mistake when we fail to recognize that government is an institution, of God’s establishment, that is to do justice, and not mercy or compassion. Gushee at least recognizes the distinction between the duties of individuals and those of government, and applies the recognition of that distinction — quite well I would suggest — in this article.

  15. It seems to me that the Gushee is taking a balanced approach to his church serving as a sanctuary church. We should note, however, that there is more than one balanced approach. Gushee’s approach is balanced because of the number of issues he is weighing and how he is deciding to participate in the sanctuary movement and how he is refraining from such participation.

    Those whose involvement is more purist and ideological only see this issue in black-white terms so any departure from total resistance against immigration of illegal immigrants means an overlooking of actions that support the sanctuary movement.

    We should note that part of immigration reform must include the changing of foreign policies that increase the number of illegal immigrants to our nation.

    One point of disagreement. If memory serves, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has immigration as a right and that means open borders. I prefer that position but appreciate where Gushee supports sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

  16. As the author of the letter you received, I want to thank you for engaging in this important conversation.
    Though I cannot agree with every point you make, you have highlighted some vital points that do need further clarification.

    I don’t believe that moral issues look different based upon one’s leadership responsibility in the church. Our response, however, to a moral issue, is dependent upon the abilities of a community of faith to respond to those moral issues. There are multiple issues in our community and in the world to which my church members can respond, but they have chosen to focus their energies and passion toward the plight of undocumented immigrants. Will that mean that we say “no” to other invitations we will receive? Probably so. As a respected pastor and former moderator of our denomination once said . . . “There are hundreds of good things we could be doing at any given time, numberless needs in the world that could be addressed in God’s name. But not all of these are necessarily our personal responsibility as individuals or congregations. God means for us to take on some needs while other needs constitute a calling for other churches. Each congregation must discover its own mission; each one must discern what is beside its name on God’s to-do list.” (Joan S. Gray, Sailboat Church, Helping Your Church Rethink Its Mission and Practice, page 67)

    The invitation you received actually provides a wide range of options for any faith community can
    participate in the Sanctuary Movement. Your four item checklist is right on the mark for any Christian disciple who follows Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. However, the invitation does not imply that joining our movement means you have to physically accept deportees into your building. That is, of course, is one option. But the letter also highlights several other important ways to support a church that might choose to host an undocumented immigrant including:
    ·
    Pray for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.

    Volunteer to spend day and/or night shifts on location in Safe Sanctuary.
    ·
    Volunteer to provide meals to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    ·
    Volunteer to provide medical care to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    ·
    Volunteer to provide daily prayer services for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.

    Volunteer to pick up, wash, and return clothes to the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.

    Volunteer to host entertainment events for the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.
    ·
    Donate clothing.

    Donate furniture.

    Donate money to support the immigrant and/or family living in Safe Sanctuary.

    Provide legal services.

    Regarding your assertion that housing an undocumented immigrant is tantamount to breaking the law which could result in the arrest and incarceration of a pastor: well, yes. You are correct. That could happen. I’m willing to take that risk.

    However, when a church offers sanctuary, it is not “harboring” or “concealing” an individual from the
    authorities or the public. If an individual (a mother or a father) seeks sanctuary in the church I serve, he or she will not be hidden away. The act of sanctuary will be openly shared with the entire community in the hopes that the person will eventually receive a new immigration status that will allow him or her to remain in this country and to keep a family together.

    And yes, I agree with you that the United States is in dire need of new comprehensive immigration reform. One of the foundations of the Sanctuary Movement is to continue to place the spotlight
    on that very issue with the goal of enacting new and just immigration legislation. The very act of providing sanctuary is to keep this process, no matter how slow and partisan it seems to be, in the spotlight.

    I would also hope that we will not lose our eyes of compassion for the individual in need. We can talk in terms of 11 million immigrants and never once build a relationship with a mother or father who is just trying to take care of their family with the hope for a better future for their children. Illegal or not, each and every one of them is a child of God. I don’t believe Jesus ever worried too much about borders in
    his ministry.

    The Sanctuary Movement is about God’s law, and takes a stand of love and justice in the face of oppression and indifference. The Sanctuary Movement is about standing with the immigrant families when the rest of the world, head in the sand, ignores them. The Sanctuary Movement is about preventing children from being separated from their parents. The Sanctuary Movement is about obeying the commands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to love our neighbor as ourselves. And who is my neighbor? Is anyone excluded? Not in the eyes of Jesus Christ. But sometimes
    God’s law stands in opposition to the laws of this land.

    In conclusion, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, recently adopted the Belhar Confession, written in South Africa during the time of apartheid. The following section from that
    confession is often used by our church in worship. I would call attention to the section that begins with the words, “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ”. I believe that is the essence of Christ’s call to radical discipleship when we follow him.

    “We believe that the church, possessed by God, must stand where the Lord stands—against injustice and with the wronged. In following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.

    “Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is
    unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.

    “We believe that, in obedience to Jesus Christ, its only head, the church is called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment and suffering be the consequence.

    “Jesus is Lord. To the one and only God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be the honor and the glory forever and ever.”

    It is my hope that faith communities throughout this country will take the time to pray for the immigrants who have come to this nation in search of a better life. I would also hope that faith communities would take time to study the issue of immigration theologically, through the eyes of scripture.

    And then? Who knows where God will lead us?

    Shalom in Christ,

    Rev. Tom Hagood
    Columbia Presbyterian Church
    Decatur, Georgia

  17. Thank you for sharing your logic and response to the “New Sanctuary Movement”. I agree with many of your statements and believe your logic and response can better focus the “asks” of the New Sanctuary Movement. I have worked on Capitol Hill, in refugee resettlement, and as a mission co-worker in Latin America. We all come with the perspectives of our experiences and here is mine.

    First, I am grateful for Latin American church partners, missionaries and the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980’s who provided information about what was happening in Central America that we, living in the U.S., were not hearing through our government or network news. History has proven their accounts accurate. (1) Yes, many were fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua due to U.S. policies that were creating and exacerbating violence. They literally were fleeing for their lives and it was morally justifiable, indeed morally necessary, that US faith communities, guided by scriptures, provide sanctuary for people fleeing war, violence, and persecution. And, yes, the New Sanctuary Movement responds to a different context: our neighbors are fleeing
    their communities due to the structural violence of poverty.

    I fully agree that a country cannot be expected to provide entry to anyone who wants to come; however, I see three reasons why sanctuary for those already here is a moral and faithful witness for this time and place in our history.

    First, we all know that our immigration system has been “broken” for a long time. Our Congress needs to address this. The U.S. Senate tried in 2013 but the House of Representatives failed to act. Congress should not have the luxury of putting this off any longer. We have approximately 11 million undocumented people who have no path to citizenship. The majority are doing work in our country that we know needs to be done. In fact, we know that their labor puts food on our tables (harvesting, processing, food service), provides our shelter (construction, lawn care, maintenance) and cares for our children and elderly. We should not have the luxury of leaving them in fearful limbo merely because it behooves us economically to keep them vulnerable and productive. We know if we deported all undocumented people, our economy would suffer immediately and we would be unable to replace that strong work force without new immigration policies. This is why, when Congress failed to pass immigration reform, only those with criminal records or recent entry were deported. So, first, we need “them” here in the U.S. and we know it.

    Second, regarding the structural violence of poverty, can we reform immigration without considering the “push” factors? Austerity measures imposed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) as well as trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and various bi-lateral trade agreements have not been good news to the majority of poor people in Latin America. During the ten years I lived in Peru, I was shocked to learn that within the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (2007) was an Investor-State Clause which meant that a US company could sue the government of Peru but Peru could not sue the company. That meant that when 97% of the children in La Oroya, Peru had lead poisoning (documented by the Centers for Disease Control and caused by the toxic emissions of the city’s U.S.-owned smelter), Peru acted to implement emission controls designed to protect the children and families living there. But the U.S. company responsible for the toxic emissions (as well as for falsifying emission reports and financial reporting on profits) sued Peru under the terms of the Free Trade Agreement for lost potential profits. Peru could not sue this company. This may not be killing children with guns but, as a direct result of our economic policy, Peruvian children were dying a slow death. Since their community has been damaged by a US company protected by a free trade agreement negotiated by our government to benefit US business at the expense of Peruvian people, what moral obligations do we have? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. In fact, just within the mining and extractives sector, there are numerous suits in process by US businesses against Latin American governments. (2) Honestly, had I not met with families in La Oroya and followed the incredible twists and turns of a global legal system, I would not have believed that our government would promote such a system benefitting corporate power and greed over people. It is only logical that families would flee in order to provide a secure and healthy environment for their children?

    Third, we have to admit that the “business” of detaining undocumented persons has become part of the for-profit prison industry. Because I speak Spanish, I routinely visited a detention center in the U.S. as part of a legal rights verification project. I was shocked to learn that this center made more per bed from detainees than from state prisoners. The possibility of a direct correlation between empty beds in the detention center and round-ups of undocumented people was chilling. My observation was when a bed was empty, someone would be picked up and fill the bed.

    Finally, I think we need to step back and look at the New Sanctuary Movement specifically within the current political context. First, contested executive orders make clear that this administration wants to end refugee resettlement and exclude Muslims. We as a nation have always believed that welcoming refugees is part of who we are as a people. Many of us were actually embarrassed by how few refugees are actually admitted in the U.S. each year (generally approximately 75,000 per year and with the crisis in Syria this fiscal year it was increased to 110,000, which is only .03% of our population. Refugees go through extensive vetting and are often living in refugee camps for years. (3) And, yet, both executive orders stop refugee resettlement for an undefined period of time.

    In summary, we (all U.S. citizens) are benefitting from a broken immigration system that requires undocumented workers and yet keeps them in a perpetual state of fear and insecurity. By refraining from direct, prophetic action, including providing sanctuary, we are allowing Congress to not do its job to address immigration reform. I believe we are morally justified in providing sanctuary to undocumented people UNTIL Congress reforms our immigration laws to reflect our nation’s needs for and protection of their labor, full consideration of the “push” factors facing people to come to this country, and a commitment to do what is best for the nation and not the corporations who profit from detentions and a broken immigration system? Our undocumented sisters and brothers are bearing the pain of immigration laws that don’t address current realities.

    Faith communities should have the moral courage and love to stand with our undocumented sisters and brothers and provide sanctuary UNTIL we have immigration laws that reflect today’s situation. May all in the faith community come together to listen and learn from undocumented people and make the asks of the Sanctuary movement help our nation pass fair and functional immigration reform.

    (1) In fact, the situation was far worse and more diabolical than imagined with Oliver North’s scheme to fund a war that Congress explicitly did not approve with narcotics trade targeting U.S. African American communities. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/index.html

    (2) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/10/obscure-legal-system-lets-corportations-sue-states-ttip-icsid Learn more just by googling Investor-State Dispute Settlement

    (3) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/30/key-facts-about-refugees-to-the-u-s/

  18. Thank you for sharing your logic and response to the “New Sanctuary Movement”. I agree with many of your statements and believe your logic and response can better focus the “asks” of the New Sanctuary Movement. I have worked on Capitol Hill, in refugee resettlement, and as a mission co-worker in Latin America. We all come with the perspectives of our experiences and here is mine.

    First, I am grateful for Latin American church partners, missionaries and the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980’s who provided information about what was happening in Central America that we, living in the U.S., were not hearing through our government or network news. History has proven their accounts accurate. (1) Yes, many were fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua due to U.S. policies that were creating and exacerbating violence. They literally were fleeing for their lives and it was morally justifiable, indeed morally necessary, that US faith communities, guided by scriptures, provide sanctuary for people fleeing war, violence, and persecution. And, yes, the New Sanctuary Movement responds to a different context: our neighbors are being to flee their communities due to the structural violence of poverty.

    I fully agree that a country cannot be expected to provide entry to anyone who wants to come; however, I see three reasons why sanctuary for those already here is a moral and faithful witness for this time and place in our history.

    First, we all know that our immigration system has been “broken” for a long time. Our Congress needs to address this. The U.S. Senate tried in 2013 but the House of Representatives failed to act. Congress should not have the luxury of putting this off any longer. We have approximately 11 million undocumented people who have no path to citizenship. The majority are doing work in our country that we know needs to be done. In fact, we know that their labor puts food on our tables (harvesting, processing, food service), provides our shelter (construction, lawn care, maintenance) and cares for our children and elderly. We should not have the luxury of leaving them in fearful limbo merely because it behooves us economically to keep them vulnerable and productive. We know if we deported all undocumented people, our economy would suffer immediately and we would be unable to replace that strong work force without new immigration policies. This is why, when Congress failed to pass immigration reform, only those with criminal records or recent entry were deported. So, first, we need “them” here in the U.S. and we know it.

    Second, regarding the structural violence of poverty, can we reform immigration without considering the “push” factors? Austerity measures imposed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) as well as trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and various bi-lateral trade agreements have not been good news to the majority of poor people in Latin America. During the ten years I lived in Peru, I was shocked to learn that within the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (2007) was an Investor-State Clause which meant that a US company could sue the government of Peru but Peru could not sue the company. That meant that when 97% of the children in La Oroya, Peru had lead poisoning (documented by the Centers for Disease Control and caused by the toxic emissions of the city’s U.S.-owned smelter), Peru acted to implement emission controls designed to protect the children and families living there. But the U.S. company responsible for the toxic emissions (as well as for falsifying emission reports and financial reporting on profits) sued Peru under the terms of the Free Trade Agreement for lost potential profits. Peru could not sue this company. This may not be killing children with guns but, as a direct result of our economic policy, Peruvian children were dying a slow death. Since their community has been damaged by a US company protected by a free trade agreement negotiated by our government to benefit US business at the expense of Peruvian people, what moral obligations do we have? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. In fact, just within the mining and extractives sector, there are numerous suits in process by US businesses against Latin American governments. (2) Honestly, had I not met with families in La Oroya and followed the incredible twists and turns of a global legal system, I would not have believed that our government would promote such a system benefitting corporate power and greed over people. It is only logical that families would flee in order to provide a secure and healthy environment for their children?

    Third, we have to admit that the “business” of detaining undocumented persons has become part of the for-profit prison industry. Because I speak Spanish, I routinely visited a detention center in the U.S. as part of a legal rights verification project. I was shocked to learn that this center made more per bed from detainees than from state prisoners. The possibility of a direct correlation between empty beds in the detention center and round-ups of undocumented people was chilling. My observation was when a bed was empty, someone would be picked up and fill the bed.

    Finally, I think we need to step back and look at the New Sanctuary Movement specifically within the current political context. First, contested executive orders make clear that this administration wants to end refugee resettlement and exclude Muslims. We as a nation have always believed that welcoming refugees is part of who we are as a people. Many of us were actually embarrassed by how few refugees are actually admitted in the U.S. each year (generally approximately 75,000 per year and with the crisis in Syria this fiscal year it was increased to 110,000, which is only .03% of our population. Refugees go through extensive vetting and are often living in refugee camps for years. (3) And, yet, both executive orders stop refugee resettlement for an undefined period of time.

    In summary, we (all U.S. citizens) are benefitting from a broken immigration system that requires undocumented workers and yet keeps them in a perpetual state of fear and insecurity. By refraining from direct, prophetic action, including providing sanctuary, we are allowing Congress to not do its job to address immigration reform. I believe we are morally justified in providing sanctuary to undocumented people UNTIL Congress reforms our immigration laws to reflect our nation’s needs for and protection of their labor, full consideration of the “push” factors facing people to come to this country, and a commitment to do what is best for the nation and not the corporations who profit from detentions and a broken immigration system? Our undocumented sisters and brothers are bearing the pain of immigration laws that don’t address current realities.

    Faith communities should have the moral courage and love to stand with our undocumented sisters and brothers and provide sanctuary UNTIL we have immigration laws that reflect today’s situation. May all in the faith community come together to listen and learn from undocumented people and make the asks of the Sanctuary movement help our nation pass fair and functional immigration reform.

    In fact, the situation was far worse and more diabolical than imagined with Oliver North’s scheme to fund a war that Congress explicitly did not approve with narcotics trade targeting U.S. African American communities. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/index.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/10/obscure-legal-system-lets-corportations-sue-states-ttip-icsid Learn more just by googling Investor-State Dispute Settlement

    (3) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/30/key-facts-about-refugees-to-the-u-s/

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