8.16.2010

Christians of Every Stripe Calling for Immigration Reform

You may be surprised to find out that churches of nearly every denomination and tradition are speaking out with one voice on immigration.

Together they are calling on the Federal Government to reform our present immigration laws.

Consistently, they are calling for three things.

  • That immigrants be treated fairly, humanly, with dignity and respect.
  • That the rule of law be respected, and shaped to meet the above standards.
  • That we recognize that we ourselves are immigrants; that as Christians we come from a tradition of immigration, and that we therefor head the words of scripture, welcoming, loving and caring for those in need, including the immigrant, regardless of legal status.
Following are the statements on immigration of no less than eleven diverse christian organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals(2), Lutherans(2), Methodists, Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, and Episcopalians.
Catholic Church
A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration
from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States

“In its history, America has experienced many immigrations, as waves of men and women came to its various regions in the hope of a better future. The Church… is committed to spare no effort in developing her own pastoral strategy among these immigrant people, in order to help them settle in their new land and to foster a welcoming attitude among the local population, in the belief that a mutual openness will bring enrichment to all.” - Pope John Paul II

http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/stranger.shtml#1


National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)
The NAE is not a denomination, but rather a respected, national, interdenominational network.

Evangelicals support reform that:
• Respects the God-given dignity of every person
• Protects the unity of the immediate family
• Respects the rule of law
• Guarantees secure national borders
• Ensures fairness to taxpayers
• Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

http://www.nae.net/news-and-events/444-immigration-ad


Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA)
Why Care About Immigrants, Even If Undocumented?

Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” recalls God’s command in Leviticus 19:33, 34: “The foreigners among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself for you were foreigners in Egypt.” No matter, love must define our response to immigrants, documented or not.

http://www.efca.org/reachnational/immigrant-hope/why-care-about-immigrants-even-if-undocumented


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

We recognize and rejoice that our church along with our country continues to change with the steady arrival of newcomers in the United States. Persons who have recently come from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and other areas of the world are enriching congregations throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Our ministry resettles refugees, advocates on behalf of detained asylum seekers, assists unaccompanied children, offers pastoral and legal counsel to persons without legal status, aides persons with the citizenship process, and helps newcomers learn to live in a new country.

http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Messages/Immigration.aspx


Lutheran Church – Missory Synod
Joint Statement Regarding Immigration Concerns

Millions of undocumented persons have come to the United States for many and various reasons. They have come to flee oppression of many sorts… They have come illegally because they have deemed that the legal route is nearly impossible to maneuver. They have come because they can work, and they find dignity in labor.

The Lord Himself set the standard for responding to “the stranger in our midst.” Jesus Christ sought out, welcomed, and cared for people in need. He acted in mercy without respect to ethnicity, religion, or nationality.

http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=10023


The United Methodist Church
Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

As Christians and United Methodists we are called to love the stranger in our midst and to treat that stranger as we would our own family. We must be a church that welcomes the foreigners into our cities, our towns, our neighborhoods, our churches, our homes.

Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church assert that immigrants are children of God made in God’s image, affirm the labor and struggle of the undocumented worker, and assert that immigrant children deserve to be educated and provided with basic social services.

Be it further resolved, that The United Methodist Church stand against all forms of oppression and prejudices, and will work through its general agencies, especially the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Board of Church and Society, to resist racism, intolerance, and prejudice in the context of the immigration debate.

http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4951419&ct=6480715&notoc=1


Presbyterian Church – USA (PCUSA)
Position Statement - Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has called for Comprehensive Immigration Reform through action of the 216th General Assembly and by signing on to faith initiatives which urge congress to act. These statements by the church support effective immigration reforms that will adhere to the following standards:
• Create a process for undocumented immigrants in the US to earn their legal status
• Reduce waiting periods and uphold family unity
• Protect workers from exploitation

http://oga.pcusa.org/immigration/pdf/comprehensive.pdf


Southern Baptists
On The Crisis Of Illegal Immigration

WHEREAS, There are reportedly 12 million immigrants and counting who are living and working in America without legal status, many of whom have children who are American citizens by birth; and

WHEREAS, Many of these hardworking and otherwise law-abiding immigrants have been exploited by employers and by others in society, contrary to James 5:4; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That we urge the United States Congress to address seriously and swiftly the question of how to deal realistically with the immigration crisis in a way that will restore trust among the citizenry; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the federal government to enforce all immigration laws, including the laws directed at employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants or who are unjustly paying these immigrants substandard wages or subjecting them to conditions that are contrary to the labor laws of our country; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge citizen Christians to follow the biblical principle of caring for the foreigners among us (Deuteronomy 24:17-22) and the command of Christ to be a neighbor to those in need of assistance (Luke 10:30-37), regardless of their racial or ethnic background, country of origin, or legal status; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Christian churches to act redemptively and reach out to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all immigrants, to start English classes on a massive scale, and to encourage them toward the path of legal status and/or citizenship.

http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1157


Episcopal Church
The REFORM IMMIGRATION FOR AMERICA Campaign

As part of the Episcopal Church’s commitment to “welcome the stranger” as a matter of Christian responsibility, the Church announces that it has joined the Reform Immigration for America Campaign. The public policy positions of the Church regarding immigrants and refugees draw inspiration from that Gospel and are based on the resolutions passed at the General Convention and Executive Council. In the 111th Congress, the Church will continue its work for fair and humane immigration reform to fix the existing broken system. It is a system that separates families, spreads fear and keeps millions living in the shadows.

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/EPPN_Immigration_NewsletterSeptember2009.pdf

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