Monday, September 21, 2020
The Word of God states in Psalm 24 that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it -- the world and its inhabitants too. God is the one who established it. Although humanity has created borders and the constructs of human identity, we are all part of the family of God.
The United States of America has always been a nation of immigrants, a nation of refugees, and a land of opportunity for those seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Other than indigenous persons and those brought here under the scourge of chattel slavery, all inhabitants of this great land are here by virtue of their ancestors’ immigration.
Those seeking legal status are always at the mercy of those who represent them and sponsor their legal processes. If these persons are lied to, taken advantage of, or led astray, they are branded by that conduct and their very safety is at risk. That is the case with Mr. Binsar Siahaan and his case for asylum.
Mr. Siahaan was the victim of negligent representation, which has placed him in peril. While complying with every request made of him, he has been a model immigrant, contributing to his community, paying his taxes, and obeying the law. Conversely, ICE has violated their established practice by entering a recognized Sensitive Location and apprehending Mr. Siahaan under false pretenses.
The manipulative and deceptive practices utilized in this case are beneath the dignity of our nation. As a bishop and judicatory leader, I find this breach of established practice unconscionable. How dare they cross the threshold of our sacred houses of worship to engage in this horrendous action. Based on this breach alone, I believe Mr. Siahaan should be released immediately and returned to his home in Maryland. The sanctity of our sacred spaces should never be violated and doing so calls into question this administration’s respect for communities of faith and God’s people.
This action creates a moral stain on our current administration and jeopardizes their integrity in every similarly situated immigration case. Our federal government is not exempt from acting morally and consistently. Mr. Siahaan posed no risk to anyone; quite conversely, he is a model immigrant and his case should be expedited. The order from US District Judge Paul Grimm to stop this immoral deportation action must be followed.
The United Methodist Church joins all peoples of faith in acknowledging that the family is the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity. Binsar Siahaan is the head of the household and he has two children who are American citizens. His detention prevents him from providing for their care, security, and emotional well-being. Their father must be returned to them.
I call upon ICE to release Mr. Siahann immediately, continue to respect Church property as sacred and holy ground and follow their own established policies and practices around compliance and deportation. Their inappropriate and unnecessary action in this case violates practice, policy, and the Kingdom of God.