Lake Union Youth Petition U.S. Government on Immigration and Gun Control

Berrien Springs, Michigan—More than 300 participants attending last weekend's Hispanic Youth Congress on the campus of Andrews University signed petitions requesting fairness and humanity in policies pertaining to U.S. immigration and gun control.

According to Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union vice president and director of Multicultural ministries, the decision to circulate the two petitions grew out of discussions leading up to a social justice workshop at the youth congress, as “we wanted to not just talk the theory, but address social justice issues in a practical way.” Mercado explained that the move is startling and unusual because oftentimes Hispanics are fearful of going public about these frightening issues.

In announcing the immigration petition on Saturday evening, Ingrid Slikkers, Andrews University social work professor and Bethany Christian Services’ social worker, shared disturbing stories of children separated from their parents. She detailed traumatic incidents such as a six-month old baby now in their care who was pulled apart from their mother, as well as children asking about their parents’ whereabouts and the agency’s social workers being unable to answer those distressing questions.

Left to right: Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union vice president and director of multicultural ministry; Ingrid Slikkers, Andrews University assistant professor and Bethany Christian Services social worker; Nicholas Miller, Andrews University professor and Lake Union Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director; Kerling Montanez, Conéctate vice president; Mayrel Narvaez, Conéctate committee member; Eva Cruz, Conéctate president.

Below is a copy of both petitions drafted with the help of the Lake Union Public Affairs and Religious Director, Nicholas Miller, which will be mailed to the federal congresspersons and senators in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Statement and Petition by Lake Union Hispanic Adventist Youth and Young Adults on Issues Relating to Fairness and Humanity in Immigration Policy

As young people with a great appreciation for the United States, we are deeply disappointed and alarmed about the current inhumane oversight and implementation of the immigration laws and policies of our country. Our present concern focuses on two matters, which we believe arise to the level of deeply moral issues for us as Christian young people.

First, we are deeply concerned by the absence of an organized response to the lack of protection for those that are a part of the DACA “Dreamers program,” since that program began to be phased out in September of last year. We believe that something must be done [to] protect and formalize a path to residency and citizenship for young people who have lived in this country almost all their lives, and who have contributed to it by their hard work and labor. We understand that there are a number of bills before various congressional committees that could deal with this issue. We urge our elected leaders to support the discharge petition H. Res. 774, which would allow these bills to be considered by Congress.

Second, we are greatly dismayed by the “zero tolerance” policy that has been instituted by the Department of Justice in relation to immigration enforcement. This has resulted in the ongoing separation of immigrant children from their parents. This is a very troubling policy that creates severe hardships and trauma on children and parents alike. Such a policy should not be tolerated in a country that prides itself on its humanitarian values and the equality of all human beings before their Creator, as set forth in our Declaration of Independence. We urge our elected representatives to press the Executive Branch to modify this policy, and to seek for ways to keep immigrant children and parents together.

Thank you for your ongoing leadership, and considering our concerns in these important matters.

Statement and Petition by Lake Union Hispanic Adventist Youth and Young Adults on Issues Relating to Fairness and Humanity in Gun Control Policy

As young people with great appreciation for the United States, we are deeply disappointed, concerned, and afraid about our safety. The safety of our society has been shaken. The reason for this is because of the lack of laws and policies on automatic or semi-automatic assault weapons.

Automatic or semi-automatic weapons used with bump stocks or otherwise modified to increase their rate of fire have one main purpose. That purpose is to continuously or rapidly fire rounds at a high volume as long as there is ammunition in the magazine or the chamber. In short, these weapons are perfectly designed to injure and kill a large number of people.

Looking at a biblical perspective, Christ came into the world to save lives, not to destroy them. (Luke 9:56). When Peter drew his weapons, Jesus said to him: “Put your sword back in its place… all who take the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52). Jesus did not engage in violence.

It is alarming that these assault-style weapons can easily be purchased in the United States. Their availability can only open the possibility for further tragedies.

Peace and the preservation of life are to be the goals of Christians. Evil cannot be effectively met with evil, but must be overcome with good. We as Seventh-day Adventists youth, with other people of good will, wish to cooperate in using every legitimate means of reducing, and eliminating where possible, the root causes of violent crime in our communities, and especially in our schools, which should be havens of peace and safety.

In addition, with public safety and the value of human life in mind, the sale of automatic or semi-automatic assault-style weapons should be strictly controlled. This would reduce the use of weapons by mentally disturbed people and criminals, especially those involved in drug and gang activities. We make a call onto the elected representatives to take action to reduce the sale of automatic or semi-automatic assault weapons to the general public.

About the Lake Union: The Lake Union Conference serves 88,000 Seventh-day Adventist members in the Illinois, Indiana, Lake Region, Michigan, and Wisconsin conferences.

About the Lake Union Youth Congress: Conéctate is a bi-lingual Hispanic Youth Congress held every two years for purpose of training and equipping youth for a life of service to Christ.

This press release was written by Debbie Michel, Lake Union associate director of communication, and provided by the Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Main photo: Armando Miranda, keynote speaker and NAD Associate Youth Director, takes a selfie with youth congress attendees. Photos courtesy of the Lake Union Conference.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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So sorry, but I have a home in France, near the Italian border.

I sometimes take the train into Italy, where the huge farmers market sells fresh produce much cheaper than in France.

Sadly, I see , sitting around the Italian railway station, many unfortunate Africans, unemployed and hopeless. They speak no Italian, and are part of the migrant “boat people” who cross the Mediterranean in unsafe watercraft.

On the train trip back to France, twenty French police board the train at the first station across the border. They are searching for African migrants, because hopeless, jobless migrants are more likely to resort to crime, and France, rightfully, has the safety of its own citizens as a priority…

Also I applied to the French consulate in South Africa, to allow my cousins who live there, to come for a two week visit to my French home.

I was DENIED. The French have EVERY RIGHT to DEFEND THEIR BORDERS, and deny my cousins entry!

Yes, there are millions of migrants “yearning to be free”, but when the US owes trillions of dollars in debt, when we do not adequately take care of our own inner city slums, AMERICA COMES FIRST,

Also in Calais, the French border port on the English Channel, thousands of migrants are desperate to board the undersea trains and the ferry boats to take them the United Kingdom, with its vibrant economy.

They are, appropriately DENIED —the UK has every right to defend its borders. That is why, last month I waited an interminable ninety minutes at London Heathrow Airport immigration control, as the immigration officers meticulously scrutinized every passport.

I applaud the demand for more effective gun control, but immigration issues are the prerogative of the federal government, which has every right (as does France and other countries ) to monitor and control the influx of undesirables into their country.


So when will Pastor Carmelo Mercado, Lake Union vice president and director of Multicultural ministries, send a petition to TW and the GC leadership team to petition “fairness and humanity in policies pertaining to “Women’s ordination” in our organized church?


Perhaps a petition that uses the name Seventh-day Adventist can circulate among the brethren to garner support from those who are on the opposite side of these political issues.

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I’m waiting for some law-abiding Christians to petition the government to observe the rule of law.

No country can sustain open borders, and it’s unfair to those who’ve come here legally to give illegals a free pass. Legal immigrants resent the fact that there are those who cheat and then expect amnesty.


When you say “opposite side,” do you mean the side of law and order, and enforcement of longstanding immigration laws?


Indeed – and in addition to actually addressing school security with armed guards and suppressing gangs through good policing rather than manipulating these situations into an emotional appeal to repeal the second amendment. (Of course, the students are advocating for incrementalism, but the issue is the issue nevertheless.)


This petition gives me hope for the future. Our Church is in good hands.


George @GeorgeTichy I wonder is any of the @webEd find the Cactus Logo offensive, They flagged down my barb wire fence anomaly yet tolerate cactus plants. Go figure!

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What should I say Elmer? Not long ago I read his comment that it is all in the readers’ minds… (as if…)
And, considering that the cactus is still posted, … well, I am not going to flag it. I want to keep my record of never having flagged one single post no matter what. If the WebEds are OK with that, so be it.

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I wish this Hispanic gathering would address the really important issues.

1st–The spreading violence and influence of Hispanic gangs, which promote the use and sale of drugs, in US as well as all of Latin America. In a recent news article about Nicaraguan Gangs which is reported to be a source of violence, “The blockades – which are guarded by mostly young men wielding slingshots and mortars – are found on nearly 70 percent of roads, crippling transportation and commerce in more than half of the country’s departments…”
It is reported that many immigrants are migrating to US due to gang violence in their Hispanic countries. Gang culture precludes sexual abuse of young women and men, encouraging criminal conduct as a means of respect in the gang. As a rule gangs do not place any value on social or Biblical based ethics nor do they value education as a means to success. Its past time for Hispanic leaders to address these real issues that face all the Latin American societies. Just look at what gangs have done to their society in El Salvador!

2nd–The need of promoting ethical values in society. Don’t worry about automatic weapons, undermine them by broadcasting sexual morality, ethics, self-determination, justice and honesty that undermines bribes and thief. These issues are the safeguards of society.

3rd–In Mexico promote the value of education. Raise the cultural expectations to a higher level.


Multicultural Ministries is essentially a Hispanic Ministries dept. although it supposedly includes other ethnic congregations. The coordinator is Hispanic and promotes Hispanic interests. One question for Elder Mercado: How many, if there’s any, women Hispanic pastors have you hired and are pastoring so-called Multicultural congregations of the Lake Union Conference?


What is amazing about this “Lake Union Youth Petition” is the fact that Pastor Mercado finds it more feasible for the POTUS to hear him being an advocate for the disenfranchised population in the US than TW is to hear him be an advocate for the disenfranchised (women) population of our church.

Go figure!


A few will remember Neville Chamberlin and his actions and POV in WWII.
There is more to effective leadership and action than your own personal feelings. A person can have their heart in the right place so to speak and still be a abject failure in addressing a problem.
These days the media makes stars out of inexperienced impressionable teens when they tout positions the media wants championed.
It seems as though the institutions in the adventist church are filled with some of the same people.

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After reading the comments to this piece, I find myself numbed by the bigotry, carefully concealed in “we must protect our boarders” and divergent dialogue talking about Women’s Ordination, and “protection of the second amendment”. I can honestly say that almost all of the commenters to this piece make me sick to call myself an Adventist.

A very big thank you to all of you (sarcastically speaking) for pointing out just how much I don’t want to be like any of you.

when a rather hot place that officially does not exist in adventistworld begins to cool and grass and trees grow on the lava.


In other words, you don’t believe in the rule of law. Do you really believe that anyone should be able to come across the border any time they want, with no restrictions? If so, I’m glad you’re not in charge of making the laws (or removing them, as the case may be).

Are the legal immigrants also bigots because they want those from their home country to observe the rule of law, rather than breaking the law by entering illegally? I’m frankly tired of this false narrative created by those who are apparently ignorant of the consequences of uncontrolled immigration. I don’t know anyone who is “anti-immigrant.” What we are opposed to is illegal border crossings, and the lax enforcement of immigration laws, as it pertains to illegal aliens.

Every country has regulations regarding crossing its borders. To do otherwise is to invite chaos and anarchy.


Bic Le vieux,
Yes I do believe in the rule of law, but I also believe in common decency. When our government is acting on our behalf, while at the same time ripping young children from the arms of their mothers, it has gone entirely too far. Get out your history book and read how Adolf Hitler used the same tactic, even down to the detail of telling the parents that they were taking their children away so that they could give them a bath, all while herding them into the gas chambers. Most of these people are fleeing their countries because they have been overrun by drug lords and violent gangs. Much of the blame for that falls on us as well because our population is the demand and theirs homeland is the supply. Parents are simply trying to find some safety by coming to this country, only to be terrorized by our own ICE. This is where my heart, and my compassion for their pathetic lives becomes more important than your ------ rule of law. I don’t think that a great deal of privilege should come to you or me just because we happen to have shot out of the womb in the United States as opposed to El Salvador. I am also very sure that on Judgment day, God will be asking what we did to alleviate the suffering, and God won’t be asking what we did to keep our boarders safe.


Wait! I didn’t say that!

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Wait! I didn’t say that!

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