Ask Joe Biden to Commit to Free the Families Living in Sanctuary Churches

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Families living in Sanctuary churches have endured threats of imprisonment and deportation by ICE, as well as targeted retaliation including egregious fines of up to $500,000. Sanctuary Leaders have demonstrated courage and resilience by standing up to this administration to fight for justice for themselves, their families, and their community. We are asking former Vice President Joe Biden, Jr. to commit to liberating Sanctuary leaders if he is elected President this November. Please join us in fighting for Sanctuary Leaders and the communities they represent.

For further action:
To support families in Sanctuary as an organization, please see the sign-on letter here.
To support families in Sanctuary as an elected official, candidate, or delegate, please see the sign-on letter here.

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Philadelphia, PA

To: Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
From: [Your Name]

*Español Abajo - Spanish Below*

We write to you to express our support for sanctuary families currently living in houses of worship around the United States. We are extremely concerned by the lack of action and leadership on this particular issue, especially in the face of some of the cruelest retaliatory actions by the current administration.

We ask you to publicly stand with us in support of these brave people living in sanctuary. We ask you to commit to 1) exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion to grant a stay of removal to each person living in sanctuary on your first day in office; 2) within the first 100 days of your presidency, lift the deportation orders against all people living in sanctuary; and 3) sign into law all private bills for people living in sanctuary that Congress sends to your desk.

Over the last four-and-a-half years, dozens of people around the country have taken refuge in houses of worship as their only option to be safe from deportation, and to keep their families intact. Some of these families have roots in the United States spanning more than two decades, some have U.S. citizen children, others arrived at the border seeking refuge and pleading for protection from unimaginable violence. Instead, they were met with an immigration system that threatens to send them back to countries where they will likely face harm and even death.

The current administration has tried to turn sanctuary into an offensive word, but at its very core, sanctuary represents resilience and human dignity. Families living in sanctuary have been pleading with elected officials to find national policy solutions to this issue, which would have implications for thousands of people. So far, they have been met with excuses and inaction from our elected leadership. It is time for elected officials to act.

Sanctuary leaders have faced targeted retaliation from DHS over the past year. ICE has threatened to impose exorbitant fines, upwards of $497,999, as well as potential criminal prosecution. These targeted threats raise serious concerns for us, who believe in the right of people to seek refuge and to exercise their freedom of speech and religion. These are in fact, two of the most fundamental rights protected by our Constitution.

Those in Sanctuary have suffered enough. Their confinement has been long and the injustices they experience are ongoing. Your actions can bring them the relief they need and deserve. Now is the time to support and honor the brave fight and leadership of people living in sanctuary and their commitment to resist the retaliatory actions of the current administration. Be the one who honors political expression in support of immigrants’ rights in the United States and not the one who punishes immigrants for seeking liberty and justice.

*Version en Español*

Carta Abierta al VP Biden

Estimado Vicepresidente Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Les escribimos como inmigrantes, padres, y personas de fé. Somos un grupo de mujeres, hombres y jóvenes que se han visto obligados a buscar refugio en iglesias de todo el país: Carolina del Norte, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pensilvania, Texas, Virginia, Utah, entre otros. Hemos vivido en aislamiento mucho antes de que la crisis de salud de COVID-19 nos obligará a todos a estar en cuarentena.

La administración actual ha tratado de convertir la palabra santuario en una palabra ofensiva, pero en el fondo, tomar santuario representa la resistencia y la dignidad humana.

Como líderes de santuario, nos hemos enfrentado a múltiples represalias dirigidas por la administración por denunciar la injusticia. El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) ha tratado de imponer multas contra nosotros de entre $300,000 a $500,000, una cantidad que nunca podríamos pagar, incluso si trabajamos todos los días por el resto de nuestras vidas. Nuestras familias se han enfrentado a amenazas de enjuiciamiento penal por parte de ICE, y creemos que si seguimos siendo ignorados, es solo cuestión de tiempo antes de que los agentes federales entren a la fuerza a las iglesias donde vivimos nosotros y nuestros hijos y nos arresten a todos.

Usted ha reconocido que la administración actual ha “emprendido un asalto implacable a nuestros valores y nuestra historia como nación de inmigrantes” cuando ICE “amenaza con redadas masivas que separarían a las familias que han estado en este país durante años y se enfocan en personas que se encuentran en lugares sensibles como hospitales y escuelas “.

Usted ha prometido que el asalto contra los inmigrantes terminará cuando usted se convierta en presidente. Es por eso que estamos escribiendo para pedirle su apoyo y compromiso para hacer lo siguiente por nosotros cuando se convierta en el próximo Presidente de los Estados Unidos:

1) En su primer día como Presidente, ejercer discreción favorable para otorgar la suspensión de deportación a cada persona que viva en santuario, para permitirnos continuar trabajando en nuestros casos legales;
2) Levante las órdenes de deportación contra nosotros dentro de los primeros 100 días de su presidencia, utilizando herramientas legales a disposición del gobierno;
3) Firme en ley todos los proyectos de ley privados en nombre de las personas que viven en santuario que el Congreso envía a su escritorio.

Le pedimos que se comprometa públicamente a hacer las tres cosas mencionadas anteriormente. Nos hemos reunido con muchos de nuestros líderes electos locales, estatales y nacionales en el Partido Demócrata para pedirles su apoyo, y aunque hemos recibido palabras de apoyo, no hemos visto ninguna acción concreta que conduzca a nuestra libertad. Su compromiso de ayudarnos a encontrar soluciones de política nacional enviará un mensaje a nuestra comunidad de que usted es serio en su promesa de poner fin al ataque de Trump contra los inmigrantes. Su compromiso con nosotros tendrá implicaciones para miles de personas.

Por último, como señal de su compromiso para poner fin al asalto contra inmigrantes, refugiados y solicitantes de asilo, queremos que se reúna con nosotros virtualmente para escuchar nuestras historias y aprender sobre nuestra lucha.