taking the words of Jesus seriously

I know a Pastor who has been in detention for seven months.

He is a Dreamer who made a minor error at 18 years old when he travelled outside the country thinking that he had permission.  He has kidney issues, and, like countless other detainees, he sees the novel coronavirus coming for him like a freight train. We are inviting people of faith to help us do something about the avoidable devastation that threatens our prisons and detention centers during this COVID-19 crisis.

Please read the letter below to Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf and consider signing as well as talking to your Congressional Representatives about it. To have your signature added, you can email Alexia at [email protected] .

Sheltering in place may keep us apart, but it does not have to keep us from coming together on behalf of justice for the most vulnerable. Will you join us?

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Dear Mr. Wolf:

We are writing as Christian leaders across the country concerned about our vulnerable brothers and sisters who are residing in detention centers where Coronavirus protections and treatment are difficult to obtain.  Many of them do not represent any threat to public safety; their only offenses were entry or re-entry without immigration documentation. They do not deserve a potential death sentence.

We are asking you to expand the opportunities for alternatives to detention.  We are particularly requesting the humanitarian release of elderly detainees and those with underlying health conditions. We offer the resources of our ministries and denominational structures to be used in collaboration with non-profit organizations and public officials to find placement for these individuals and families with sponsors, temporary shelter and basic services.

“Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

In Christ’s name,

Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President – National Latino Evangelical Coalition

Rev. Luis Cortés, Jr., President – Esperanza

Sr. Norma Pimentel, Catholic Charities, Rio Grande Valley

Rev. Carlos L. Malave, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together in the USA

Rev. Ruben N. Ortiz, Latino Field Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Rev. Andres Serrano, Director Hispanic Ministries, Reformed Church of America

Pr. Salvador Orellana, Director of Intercultural Ministries, American Baptist Churches

Rev. Ruben Duran, Director for Congregational Vitality, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Lori Tapia, National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Fr. Antonio Guillen, Missioner, Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Director, Ethnic Ministries | The Episcopal Church

 Rev. Roberto Ochoa, Associate for Congregations of Color &, Ethnic Identified Congregations United Church of Christ

 Marco A. Grimaldo, Deputy Director of Church Relations, Bread for the World

 Dr. Fernando Cascante, Executive Director, Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana (AETH), Director of The Justo Center

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Coordinator of Relations with Entities of , Theological Education, AETH

Vince Gonzales, Mitigation Specialist, National Leader United Methodist Church

Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millán, Director, Hispanic House of Studies, Duke Divinity School

Dr. Edwin David Aponte, Executive Director, Louisville Institute

Rev. Efrain Pineda Jr., Congreso Red & Vida Church, Founder & Lead Pastor

Iris de León-Hartshorn, Associate Executive Director of Operations, Mennonite Church USA

Rev. Michael Mata, First Church of the Nazarene, Los Angeles

Rev. Lee de Leon, Executive Pastor, Templo Calvario, Santa Ana, CA

Dr. Robert Chao Romero, Assistant Professor César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies UCLA

Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra, Matthew 25 and Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies Fuller Theological Seminary

About The Author


Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra is the author with Dr. Peter Heltzel of “Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World” (Intervarsity Press). She is a Lutheran Pastor with over 40 years of experience in congregational (English and Spanish) and community ministry, including church-based service and community development programs, congregational/community organizing, and legislative advocacy. She serves as Assistant Professor of Integral Mission and Transformational Development for the School of Intercultural Studies for Fuller Theological Seminary as well as Coordinator of a Professional Certificate program for Hispanic pastors and church leaders at Fuller’s Centro Latino. She coordinates the Ecumenical Collaboration for Asylum Seekers and serves on the leadership team of Matthew 25/Mateo 25 (a bipartisan Christian network to protect and defend families facing deportation in the name and spirit of Jesus.) She serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing, and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations, including World Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Christian Community Development Association.

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