Chicago faith leaders criticize Trump immigration policy, call for change

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Local clergy members are denouncing the President's executive order, saying it does not do enough to help immigrant children who have already been separated from their parents at t (WLS)

Chicago faith leaders called for compassion and change Thursday.

They criticized President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy and denounced the executive order he signed Wednesday, saying it does not do enough to address the plight of about 2,300 children already separated from their parents and still allows for what they call "inhumane detentions."

About 30 faith leaders representing different religions gathered Thursday morning at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Chicago's Loop under the group name "Protected by Faith."

They were concerned about how the separated children will be reunited with their parents.

"Jailing families is not the solution to family separation," said Rev. Victoria Curtiss of Fourth Presbyterian Church.

The faith leaders also questioned the Trump administration's plan for immigration authorities to hold the children, even those reunited with their parents, in detention centers for more than 20 days. That is prohibited by a 1997 consent decree known as the Flores settlement.

"To the suggestion that the compassionate solution is to now detain families in jails for an indefinite time, mimicking internment camps, together we say, 'No,'" said Pastor Jeremy Chia, of Willow Chicago.

The group penned a letter to U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed by more than 500 local clergy.

"Trump's zero tolerance police on immigration marks a humanitarian crisis on American soil," said Manley Rosario of Gather Activism.

The White House said they will ask a federal judge to see if they can make an adjustment to that time period.

The Senate and the House are working on separate bills to address the immigration issue.

Many faith leaders in Chicago said whatever immigration issues come up, they should be addressed in a humane manner - and that is simply not happening. The leaders said they want to see the detentions end.

Thursday afternoon, city officials confirmed some of those separated children are being housed in Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement, "The tragic repercussions of President Trump's terrible policy are real, and this is further proof of the heartbreak he has caused families. What every child deserves and what every child needs is the loving arms of their parents, not to be stripped apart, flown away and housed alone - with no family. I am confident Chicago's social service agencies are doing their best to care for these children, but these children should never have been taken from their families in the first place. This heartbreak will be a hallmark of the Trump administration, and a stain on our nation."

It is not known how many separated children are being housed here or where they are being housed.

Meanwhile, a group of mayors including Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, gathered at a holding facility for immigrant kids at the Texas border near Mexico to call on the Congress and the president to act humanely.

"We know that the ultimate solution lies in comprehensive immigration reform," Mayor Freeman-Wilson said.
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politicsimmigrationborder crisisimmigration reformdonald trumpu.s. & worldChicagoLoopTexas
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