Andrews University Releases Statement on Child Detention & Family Separation

“For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.” —Deuteronomy 10:17–19

We join the chorus of voices including the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) and the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (PUC) who have spoken out against the inhumane cruelty being inflicted upon immigrants and refugees — including their children — due to the new “zero tolerance” policy that was approved by the Executive Branch of the United States and implemented by the Department of Justice.

The implementation of this policy has led to young children being separated from their parents whom, in the majority of cases, are political asylum-seekers from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras among others. Rather than processing those claims, it has been reported that they have been taken into custody immediately while having their children taken away from them and detained in chain link enclosures in the McAllen Central Processing Station in Texas.

We have also been deeply troubled by the practice of using Scripture to justify this policy that many have engaged in. There are several examples in Scripture of God commanding us to treat those who are not native to our land in the exact same manner that we would treat a family member.

The book of Ezekiel puts it this way:

Divide the land within these boundaries among the tribes of Israel. Distribute the land as an allotment for yourselves and for the foreigners who have joined you and are raising their families among you. They will be like native-born Israelites to you and will receive an allotment among the tribes. These foreigners are to be given land within the territory of the tribe with whom they now live. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” —Ezekiel 47:21–23

God calls His people to take an active part in not only welcoming in the foreigner or stranger that is within our gates, but also to make provision for them — treating them as if they are members of our own families.

Our ancestors were brought to this country by way of divergent and varying paths. Some migrated to America and forcibly claimed these lands, which were not native to them, as their own. Others were brought to these shores by force and the foundations of this country were built on the backs of their free labor. Still others sought the dream of a better life in this country fleeing war-torn and impoverished communities in their countries of origin.

Throughout America’s history, it has indeed been the contributions of our global community that has given it the potential to be a great country. If we ignore and invalidate those contributions and allow close-mindedness to close ourselves off from the rest of the world, America as we know it will cease to exist. We cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the needs of those seeking refuge in our country. As their applications for entry are considered, the very least we can do is treat them humanely.

America has always prided itself on being the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is a country where people from all different walks of life are endowed with certain inalienable rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While this ideal has only been true for some, we believe that as people of faith we are called to stand in the prophetic tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. by speaking truth to power and demanding that this country truly live up to the meaning of its creed for all of its inhabitants, as well as for those seeking refuge here.

Ultimately, we are called to treat everyone around us with the love of Christ. That love should motivate us to tangible action. Hebrews implores us to:

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” —Hebrews 13:1–3.

I am reminded of a monumental event that occurred on this date — June 19 — in 1865. More than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced that the 250,000 remaining enslaved people in the state of Texas were free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as “Juneteenth” around the country as a symbol of true emancipation and freedom.

I am also reminded of a boldly prophetic passage that Ellen G. White released around 1855 in Testimonies for the Church (Volume One). At the time, slavery was still alive and well in this country and many had questions about how we as Christians should respond in the face of immoral laws and policies. In the face of such questions, particularly as it pertained to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Sister White penned the following passage:

We have men placed over us for rulers, and laws to govern the people. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be worse than it is now. Some of these laws are good, others are bad. The bad have been increasing, and we are yet to be brought into strait places. But God will sustain His people in being firm and living up to the principles of His word. When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey; and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God's workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own.” —Testimonies for the Church, Chapter 37 (201.2).

Andrews University fully denounces the practice of separating families and detaining immigrants and their children in chain-link enclosures. This practice goes against everything that we stand for as a diverse and welcoming community that seeks to help every member of our institution find their voice and value.

As Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham said in their statement “our thoughts and prayers must turn into actions and deeds.” If you’d like to read more about those who are working to support and aid these immigrant families, you can find out more here.

This statement was written by Michael T. Nixon, vice president for Diversity & Inclusion at Andrews University and originally appeared on the Andrews website.

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Ok, what is the solution? I did not read of one, just denunciation. If I showed up at a day care, and demanded that my children be given care, what kind of resception should I receive?

These immagrants put their children in harms way by bringing them to the border. They have not made arrangements for entry or any other thing for that matter. Some of the children are not even theirs, but are being used as pawns so that they might receive more sympathetic treatment.

I am disappointed by Mr. Nixon’s comments. They are one sided and do not reflect a broader viewpoint. And. He has no solution. A. More balanced presentation would have been better. And the comments about slavery are. Irrelevant.


Nice statement. I pity all of the evangelicals who have abandoned Christian morality for the purpose of supporting a policy that separates children from their parents. Not even the odious and repugnant Donald Trump is in favor of that policy, as he has reportedly now rescinded it, and in so doing has established that his evangelical supporters in support of that policy are more odious and repugnant than him.


What makes you think the Evangelicals all supported this policy? You can vote for someone and not agree with all they do or say, you know. Or should I attribute acceptance of all Bill’s foibles to his voters as well?

But Phil, you WANT to believe badly about evangelicals, so attribute every bad thing Trump thinks or does to them. Graciousness might do otherwise.


How do you identify an Evangelical? What are the identifiers of an Evangelical?

It isn’t a policy, it’s actually a law of the land passed by Congress and in place for at least two previous presidents. To condemn the action is to be selective with our recent history, as the photos now coming to light on the Internet show; of children held in cages during President Obama’s time. This isn’t about the children, this is about the insane, rabid hatred for President Trump and his administration, which is further leading good institutions such as Andrews University to look, at minimum foolish or worse complicit with those individuals and organizations who are lying and fear-mongering.

The statement mentions that, ‘God calls His people to take an active part in not only welcoming in the foreigner or stranger that is within our gates, but also to make provision for them…’. And we, as a nation have and do every day with legal immigration. My father is a Naturalized citizen of the United States, who has served his country and is proud to be an American. He applied for and was allowed to enter the USA on a visa. He waited in line for it and made the cut. He attended Andrews University, as did my brother, and I in our turn, thanks to the fact that our father had come here and done things correctly as a law abiding individual. If people want asylum, legally, they only need to enter through a port of entry. Simple. So, stop citing the Bible for your own means, it puts you in poor company.

Right now, all these immigrants are doing is breaking the law.

With the signing of an executive order, all we’ve done is guarantee that the children can now be in jail with their parents.

Shame on you Andrews for taking a obviously slanted and biased position.


Don’t be too hard on Andrews. They’re just an ivory tower having fun.

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Thanks, Mr. Nixon, for this thought-out, Scripturally-based statement with empathy and Christian ethics.

@sufferingsunfish, maybe you will like this statement better than Elder Graham’s?

Andrews is one of the most diverse institutions of higher learning in the United States. Their statement shows the way for other institutions of higher learning to release statements.

May we be beacons of integrity and empathy.


It’s amazing to me how educated people who spend their lives theorizing about life, tucked away on cloistered campuses show so little common sense and even curiosity to dig out the truth of these matters. The cool aid that flows from the media is in itself disgusting. This entire issue defies logic and sanity when nobody even blinks when Peter Fonda calls for the kidnapping of the president’s young son, to be tossed into a cage of pedophiles; or when the rest of mindless Hollywood suddenly gets to set moral standards for the nation, as they call for various deplorable acts (speaking of deplorables).

Has anyone noticed that North Korea was brought to the table after over 60 years of threats to destroy South Korea and beyond. Anyone notice that the economy has been growing. I think not - but that’s the point of all this hysteria over the border that has been operating as it has under a number of presidents including Obama’s. This circus has been performing to distract what is actually happening in the country.

The hyperbole associated with the hatred toward Trump shows up here all the time, as even people who should know better echo all the disgusting lies that are manufactured just because the democrats lost the election. Unbelievable.


All of these persons at the Mexican border pose a HUGE COMMUNICABLE DISEASE RISK for the American population.
NONE have been tested for Tuberculosis [some strains of TB are highly drug resistant].
NONE of the parents AND children have been Immunized for Mumps, Measles, Rubella.
NONE have been Immunized against Tetanus.
ALL need screening for Intestinal parasites which can be easily communicated by poor
bathroom hygiene. These need to be treated.
Many are going to have Blood Parasites that need to be treated.

THIS IS A HUGE PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE. NOT a whimper from the CDC. NOT a whimper
from the Departments of Public Health of Texas, Arizona, Nevada, California.



Perhaps what you perceive as “hatred” is, despite the economy, a distaste for the extensive lying, disrespect (towards the disabled, women, and with the border issue, children and babies), and character of the president.

Despite your defense of him, you know that such actions would never have been tolerated by any previous president.

The “evangelical” support of Trump by evangelical leaders like Falwell and Franklin Graham is truly chilling.

So, although you label it as “hatred,” it’s difficult for some to see the president, the moral leader of the world, lose respect from our allies, and treat our friends with such disrespect.

I offer this respectfully not to get into a political back-and-forth. For the first time in my life, I can see how political power can join quickly with religious power.


But Harpa Obama and Bush tolerated the caging of the kids, and there are picutures to prove it. No press outrage. No Democratic horror show. Hmm… Obama prosecuted 1.5 million immigrants that came over illegally.

So, since the same policies WERE tolerated by other presidents how do you explain the attitudes of folk like you who feel it is not hatred? The other presidents did tolerate it, but it is Trump that is to blame. How do you interpret that?


Really? Hillary drove them into Trump’s arms with the deplorable comment made at a gay event, as I recall.

Look at the intolerance of the left. That baker would have sold those guys anything but a wedding cake. Is that discrimination? No, it is the non-support of an idea, gay marriage. And really rank intolerance on their part. They could have gone down the street and had exactly what thay wanted, but instead decided to sue. Wow. Not so much of live and let live. The religious right is a broken reed. And is little threat.


When you practiced medicine, did you refuse services to anyone?


I’m not defending Trump per se, but the President of the United States who was elected by due process as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States. I have upmost respect for both. Trump, as an individual (warts and all) is not my concern. Each president brings along a unique personality. Trump is a blue collar millionaire from downtown New York. I grew up in the suburbs of NY and what comes across as “in-you’face” personality comes with the territory. The problem with Trump is that he owes no one anything and politicians and the political machinery don’t know how to deal with him, so they attack every other aspect of the man.
The Republicans don’t want him in office anymore than the Democrats, and the whole bunch of them in Congress are going to try to get rid of him., using the only means they have - attack the person.

I’m not seeing any more disrespect from Trump than Clinton, when it comes to morality - either of the Clintons. The only difference is that most in Washington, including the Clintons, know how to talk out of both sides of their mouths - because they are hard-core politicians who will say and do anything to keep power. Trump is a “bull in the china shop”. The man can’t do anything without the left having a meltdown.

As for the border - crying children are hard to watch without getting emotionally involved in the situation. The fact is that everybody and their grandmother wants to come to California, in particular. They can live there without learning a new language, or getting a job. I’m not blaming the entire population south of the border for wanting to come; but so would the rest of the third world.

A NATION is defined by its borders. All of them have one. Europe decided to remove its borders because the individual nations had a hard time competing economically. It does all come down to “follow the money”. In the process, those countries are losing their individuality and their culture based on their history. When borders are breached without procedures put in place for crossing them, anybody can walk across. Why would we want uncontrolled border crossings in a world like the one we live in? The US hasn’t had to guard its borders from enemy access like the ones in Europe, so maybe that’s why people, who don’t know history, don’t respect its borders and the flag that represent it.

Most of the kids at the border have come across Mexico because their parents placed them in harms way when they payed others to take them to the border. They are there without their parents, being exploited and raped along the way. This problem has been going on for decades. Both Clinton and Obama addressed it when it was their turn to deal with it - just a lot of rhetoric. The border, and all that that problem encompasses, is a big business; and someone is benefitting from not solving it.

Middle America elected Trump - guys with straw hats chewing on a blade of grass from their field (as opposed to smoking it) - and home base for EVANGELICALS. Trump is no more an evangelical than Ted Wilson. His appeal is the economy and work ethic - not his religion - are you kidding? Corporate America is furious. There is also money to be made in Washington, where they continually scratch each other’s backs; where whoever gets to be president owes a whole host of moneyed supporters for the privilege. Trump owes nobody anything on that score - and that is the big problem for all of Washington - no room for manipulation. The “Clinton News Network” hasn’t quite found out yet that Hillary lost - neither has Hillary. They’re all working overtime to nail Trump, if not on the Russian collusion, then anything else they can drum up, dragging out old problems and pasting them on Trump’s back. This border issue is nothing new. The only thing that’s changed is that Trump is calling the previous presidents out on the facade of laws they created, never intending to enforce them. It just looks good to “have done something about it”- and then to just ignore it. Obama is the one that placed these border kids in cages, and both he and both Clintons were vehement about “illegals crossing our borders”. Those videos of recorded history, have been lost and the memory of them.

As for the Adventist involvement - if it’s not the Jesuits then it’s the Evangelicals - we do love our conspiracy scenarios - but they can be dangerous - Waco?


No. But if they asked for an abortion I would refuse. Just another operative procedure, right?

I don’t go along with that idea. Should I be forced to celebrate a Democratic victory if I don’t support Democrats?


Thanks, Sirje, for sharing your political views.

I know I sleep better at night knowing the president has my back to protect my family from the evils of Central American toddlers and cheap Canadian imports.


Some of those toddlers are mighty big for their age. Just ask anybody living on Long Island, NY. As for Canada, there are no exports from Canada. They all shop across the border. :rofl:


Sounds like you are defending the President. Whichever path you choose, you may want to pause and consider that it was announced today that 20,000 spaces are being allocated in our military bases to accommodate additional children. This legacy of incarcerating innocent minors breaks every rule of human decency and makes any other transgressions by Mr. Trump very minor.
Children should never become political pawns.


How sad that Andrews University is choosing to enter into politics. They should concentrate on their mission of reinforcing faith in the Word of God and the Spirit of prophecy instead of jumping on every liberal bandwagon that happens by. Their enrollment numbers are plummeting year by year. They even had to close their award winning century old dairy to make ends meet. When they see the liberal pliable attitude and spirit of the current administration, every true SDA parent should fear to send their children there. Andrews is fast becoming like La Sierra, Walla Walla, and PUC. If they don’t repent, they will end up like AUC.