By Lily Bohlke
Some Floridians have joined more than 450 faith leaders signing an open letter to President Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention delegates, calling on them to rethink their positions on immigration – specifically, family separation and child detention at the border.
A federal court ordered the administration to end the family-separation policy in 2018, and Trump himself signed an executive order doing so. But the Rev. Ryan Eller, founder and executive director of the group New Moral Majority, which organized the letter, said it’s still happening.
“The practice of separating immigrant families continues, including the practice of abducting children from their parents and putting them into government-controlled camps,” Eller said.
The Trump administration has argued these policies will deter migrants from crossing the border illegally, but studies have shown little evidence that detention actually works as a deterrent.
Some Florida GOP members have advocated for a different tone and more inclusiveness in immigration policy.
The letter also criticizes the president and his party for what it calls “hateful” rhetoric toward immigrants, and for trying to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Florida is home to 4.5 million immigrants – just over 20% of the state’s population – and more than 24,000 DACA recipients. Eller hopes lawmakers will turn away from what the letter calls an “anti-immigrant agenda.”
“Unfortunately, the RNC has decided just to maintain its platform that it had in 2016. And we think that that doesn’t reflect the values of the majority of Americans, certainly doesn’t reflect our values as people of faith,” he said.
Eller said faith leaders will continue to speak to, “how we care, as the scripture says, for the least of these.”
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