Over 1,000 Religious Leaders Urge Senators to Stop the Attack on Sanctuary Cities

October 19, 2015

In response to anti-sanctuary city legislation, religious leaders from many faith traditions signed a letter urging Senators to vote against such legislation

WASHINGTON – As the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on S. 2146, The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, more than 1,000 faith leaders from across the United States are asking Senators to reject the bill and any other legislation that will erode trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities across the country.

The bill would block local jurisdictions from limiting their collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, punish sanctuary cities by defunding community policing programs and enact otherwise discriminatory measures against immigrant communities. S. 2146 would also create a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for anyone who has been deported and attempts to re-enter the United States.

CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough joined more than a dozen municipal and law enforcement groups from around the country and other faith leaders to express their concerns about S. 2146 and similar legislation.

“As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to speak out against legislation that would discriminate against our immigrant brothers and sisters,” McCullough said. “This legislation would force local law enforcement officers to act as de facto immigration officials or risk losing federal funding for vital community safety programs. Such mandates harm all of our communities and negatively impact public safety. When victims and witnesses cannot seek the help of police without fear of deportation, we all suffer the consequences. And at a time when there is bipartisan agreement that mandatory minimum sentencing is bad policy, we should not create a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for returning to the United States after deportation.”

Church World Service opposes S. 2146 on behalf of its 37 Christian member communions, and stands against any other legislation that would limit funds or defund local law enforcement agencies for their work promoting public safety and building relationships with immigrant communities. CWS stands with more than 1,000 faith leaders who signed the letter and remains ready to work with members in both the House and Senate to create sustainable solutions that would fix our out-dated and unjust immigration system, reform our criminal justice system, and promote proven community-policing efforts.

To read the full letter and list of supporting faith leaders, please visit this website.