December 21 – After the Deportation

By: Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel…and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, who bore Jesus, who is called the Messiah (from Matthew 1:1-17).


“Emancipation means the elimination of harmful systems
and the development of life-affirming institutions, practices, policies, and services
that give us the best chance of living together,
in right relation with each other and with the natural world.” – Rachel Herzig


After the deportation, I spoke to my friend, Phoeun who now finds himself in Cambodia, a country he fled as a child over 40 years ago. He is now separated from his 90-year-old parents, extended family and community.  The possibility of ever being able to come back to the US is slim.

Can we imagine abolishing all deportations? So says the campaign #Not One More: “not one more family destroyed, not one more person left behind, not one more indifferent reaction to suffering, not one more deportation.” Can we question who and what deportation actually serves? Can we see the racism behind who is deemed “dangerous”, a “threat” or a “problem”? Can we end the mindset that deportation, or throwing people away in any form, ever solves anything?  After the deportation…Can we feel our common humanity, the heartbreak, and harm?

Scripture tells us that even after the deportation, life goes on.  Deportation is not the end of the story.   Whom society casts away as disposable, God sees as valuable. No one is irredeemable. No one is outside of Us. Separation is not the end of life. Generations of trauma can be overcome – bringing hope, healing, and reconciliation to save the world.


For those who are deported, make us steadfast connection.
For those who are rejected, make us loving welcome.
For those who are cast away, make us embracing protection.
God-for-us, God-with-us, expand our “us.”
Give us the creativity and long-term commitment
to refuse to let separation have the final word,
until all of “us” are free.  Amen.


Artwork: “End Deportation” by Yohana Junker (discover more at:


“Abolition, at its heart, is fundamentally reorganizing how we live our lives together in the world.” – Ruth Wilson Gilmore

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Abolish Deportation


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