On Thursday, January 11, my dear friend, immigrant advocate, and executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition Of New York City, Ravi Ragbir, was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as he went for his routine check-in – been checking in with Ravi for nine years – he has pending legal cases and he should not be deported. I say that from a legal perspective, but I especially say it from a moral perspective, as a woman of faith, remembering that Jesus himself was an immigrant and a refugee. And what Ravi has done is that he has helped immigrants and refugees not just here in New York City but across the country, to come out of the shadows and to stand strong and brave so that they can receive the legal help they need to stay in the country, and so that they don’t have to be afraid. They’ve been targeting our immigration leaders, by rounding them up – particularly the ones who are also immigrants – and putting them in detention. And I think they think that will break us. And they can weaken us by taking away our leaders, but what they don’t know is that we have a whole slew of people ready to stand in. And they can keep arresting us and they can keep taking us away, and trying to take us down, but we have God on our side, which means that we have the people to step up. I invite you to search your heart and find ways to support immigrants. I invite you to join the movement. I invite you to pray for the leaders of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that they will melt the ICE. And they will stand on the side of righteousness and of Jesus. Because to oppose an immigrant is to oppose Jesus. We are all created in the image of God, no matter what country we come from, no matter what our circumstances are. And when we treat people as if they are not made in the image of God, then we are opposing God. And when we deport one we are deporting Jesus. So pray for the leaders of ICE. They have choices they can make. They have tremendous discretion and they can do the right thing. Amen.
Pastor Kaji’s full sermon is here: https://youtu.be/kZCDkD8TyYU