March 21, 2022
Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman William Smith, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Luke Clippinger, and members of the Maryland General Assembly:
We, the undersigned clergy and leaders representing faith-based organizations and places of worship throughout the State of Maryland, call for your support and leadership in passing crucial immigration legislation during the 2022 General Assembly session. We write to you with moral urgency and implore you to protect the rights of Maryland’s immigrant communities and, in doing so, protect us all.
Protecting the vulnerable and welcoming the stranger are indispensable theological commitments. They lay the foundation for treating all human beings with dignity and respect. As the pandemic continues and Marylanders remain in ICE detention, it is critical for the General Assembly to pass Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings (SB129/HB114) to extend due process protections to Maryland’s immigrant communities who face the indignity and disrespect of deportation and family separation.
This bill seeks to create a legal representation program for Marylanders detained by ICE, which will ensure that they receive due process and increases the chance that they can remain in our communities with their families.
The displacement of people caused by war, violence, and persecution has resulted in thousands of people who come to our nation seeking relief — many forced to live without documentation. We have grieved over the countless stories in Maryland of families who have been irreparably fractured, the trauma of deportation, and the fear that comes with being enmeshed in a complicated legal system without representation. Our houses of worship and organizations have done our part to provide sanctuary for our neighbors. Our state must act as well.
We ask that you consider not only the moral obligation we have to love our neighbors, but the equal obligation to fight for the rights of all of our neighbors to be treated fairly, regardless of documentation or country of origin. Society as a whole suffers when the families in our communities are torn apart.
Our ethical and theological commitments compel us to publicly call for our legislators to act boldly and courageously to defend the rights of marginalized community members whose safety is our collective responsibility. We urge you to prioritize passage of SB129/HB114, Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings, during the 2022 Legislative Session.
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
ADL Washington, DC (The Anti-Defamation League)
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation
Betty Symington, Director, Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance
Cantor Ben Ellerin
Cantor George Henschel
Chevrei Tzedek Social Action Committee
Christ Congregational Church, UCC
Congregation Or Chadash
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Maryland Office
Dr. Anna Rubin, Co-Chair, Social Justice Committee, Columbia Jewish Congregation
Emma Arely Escobar
Fr. James Casciotti, S.J. Pastor of St. Ignatius Church Baltimore
Fr. Ty Hullinger, Pastor, St Anthony of Padua/St Dominic/Most Precious Blood Catholic Churches
Hyattsville Mennonite Church
James Caldiero, Lead Advocate, Immigration, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of MD
Jerry Kickenson, Steering Committee member, Congregation Action Network
Machar, The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism
Nanci Wilkinson Environmental Justice Ministry Team Lead, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church
Pastor Chris Schaefer
Patricia Nemore, Servant Leader, Seekers Church
Philip Miller, rabbi
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser, Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD
Rabbi Andrew Busch
Rabbi Ariana Katz
Rabbi Charles Arian
Rabbi Debi Wechsler
Rabbi Elizabeth Richman, Jews United for Justice
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Rabbi Gerald Serotta
Rabbi Gustav Buchdahl
Rabbi Marc Israel
Rabbi Robert Saks
Rabbi Rory Katz
Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Founding Rabbi, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Rev. Ann Copp
Rev. Cynthia Lapp
Rev. Julia Hart (ELCA)
Rev. Cat Goodrich, Faith Presbyterian Church
Rev. Charlene Belsom Zellmer
Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson, BWCUMC
Rev. Karl Muhlbach
The Rev. Derek H. Miller
Want to send a message to your legislators in support of Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings? Click the button to fill out our Action Alert to contact your electeds.