A group of evangelical leaders has sent a letter to acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf, asking that non-violent migrant detainees at risk of contracting coronavirus be released.
"Our concern is rooted in our Christian belief that each human life is made in the image of God and thus precious, and, like you, we want to do everything possible to minimize the loss of life as a result of this pandemic," the letter reads.
The letter points out that detention facilities often house large numbers of people within a confined space, making "social distancing" impossible. The evangelical leaders also note that while detaining those convicted of violent crimes is necessary, a recent Freedom of Information Act request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement data showed that most detainees have been convicted of no crimes, and the majority of those that have were convicted of minor, nonviolent offenses.
"In the interest of public health — for these detainees, for the staff of these facilities and for the general public — we encourage you to utilize alternatives to detention for individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety," the letter reads.
The group offers its churches and ministries to aid in alternative forms of monitoring.
"Crowded conditions in many detention centers make it virtually impossible to implement the social distancing and hygiene recommendations of public health officials," said Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, in a statement accompanying the letter.
"Most immigrants would be better protected, at far less public expense and toward greater public health, if they were released to join their families pending their immigration hearings. Scarce detention beds should be reserved for those charged with crimes, not those seeking asylum or family reunification," Kim said.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.