General CBF / Justice and Peacemaking Ministries

Immigration Justice, advocates needed…

Last July Bo Prosser in a blog post on “Immigration Justice, Silent No More” highlighted the example of Sandy Mercer. Sandy Mercer had befriended Maria, an undocumented student from El Salvador. Sandy became part of a team that in her words “engaged in a process for justice.” Maria won a year’s deferred action and at least temporarily avoided a voluntary departure order. Through this experience Sandy Mercer became an advocate for the DREAM Act. Prosser closed the post with this challenge:
What justice issue may be trying to find you? What can your church do to
help others like Maria? Join me in the dialogue. Let us not be silent
anymore about the issues of justice.

6 months later Jonathan Chavez is being held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Center in Florida. His path in the American immigration system is expected to lead to his deportation to Peru.

Jonathan came to the U.S. from Peru as a child. His parents had work visas. Jonathon excelled in high school in Rogers, Arkansas and he graduated with a 4.0. Jonathan enrolled in the Honors College at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to pursue a degree in vocal performance.

Jonathan is president of the International Student Christian Association and was on track to graduate in a couple of semesters. During the Christmas break he traveled by bus to Florida to visit his mother. On his arrival Jonathan was detained by INS/ICE officials. Jonathan, like Maria, is seeking a deferral to allow him to complete his studies. Meanwhile Jonathan is participating in Bible studies and has translated Bible passages for some of his fellow detainees.

There will be more injustices. There will be more Marias and Jonathans. Our question remains how do we respond? What if the question is – what does the Lord require of me? As people of faith we know that question has been asked and answered.

Sandy Mercer also issued a challenge in July. She urged Christians to no longer sit on the sidelines and instead challenged us to work for justice to meet compassion. I am responding to advocate for Jonathan Chavez by contacting elected officials to ask that they intervene in his behalf. I am responding to continue to advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act.

Hopefully the dialogue will continue.

Mike Mullally

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