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The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) stands in witness to the compounding tragedies that have led to a years-long exodus of the Haitian people from their country, culminating this week in 17,000 asylum-seekers at the U.S. border in Texas. We cry in anguish when we see film and photos of their treatment at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers on horseback. The images are a throwback to another turbulent time of racial violence and have caused trauma in Black communities throughout our country. We support the investigation into this tragic situation and expect accountability from any findings.

As Christians we believe every person is created in the image of God and we cannot stand idly by while immigration policies are implemented with cruelty instead of compassion. When U.S. immigration policies refuse access or eject people fleeing catastrophic situations, we have a moral obligation to speak up. We urge the U.S. government to do all it can to assist those requesting asylum.

Further, we call on President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas to stop deporting Haitians seeking refuge and end the Trump-era Title 42 policy prohibiting the entry of persons who potentially pose a health risk. In addition to obstructing the US law giving asylum seekers the right to seek asylum, the Title 42 expulsions are discriminatory because they are only used against asylum seekers crossing at land borders and therefore disproportionately effect Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people from Central America, Africa, and Haiti.

In addition, we support humanitarian protections such as a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) redesignation or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and the use of humanitarian parole to allow Haitians to temporarily enter the United States due to the compelling emergency situation in Haiti and the urgent humanitarian needs that exist.

Although President Biden has nearly doubled the number of refugees that will be admitted to the United States to 125,000 for the next year starting on October 1, more must be done regarding asylum and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We pray that Congress will find the moral courage to address our failing immigration system and pass legislation that demonstrates our love for our neighbors.

We also continue to pray for the Haitian people during this tumultuous and devastating time for a nation that has experienced so much tragedy.

God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.