Immigration and the church

Episcopal Life Online features the immigration debate and the role of the church in welcoming the stranger.

As immigration reform eludes Congress and as resentment, hate speech and anger about the issue build across the United States, leaders of the Episcopal Church are calling church members to stand with the suffering.

Undocumented immigrants, disparaged as “illegal aliens” by some who want them out of this country — and out of its schools, hospitals and jobs — present a moral dilemma for dioceses and ministries in every state. Raids at workplaces, and the arrests, detentions and deportations that follow, devastate families and divide communities.

Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke out in September, after Congress failed again to pass an immigration reform bill. The Presiding Bishop wrote to the church:

“I call on all people of faith to vehemently insist that immigrants be protected from inhumane treatment.”

She criticized the raids making news across the country. “Families have been separated, with breadwinners being placed in detention or a parent deported; families have been suddenly ruptured.”

She deplored the “wrenching accounts” of such separations, the deportations, racial profiling and stepped-up enforcement measures along the country’s borders.

“I would urge our government, in the strongest terms, to cease these incursions into workplaces, homes and other venues where migrants gather until we have comprehensive immigration reform. This one-sided approach to addressing our immigration problems neglects the tenets of justice and compassion which define us as Christians and as a church which embraces the marginalized and the defenseless.”

Read what churches are doing and what can be done by the church here

Previous articles on immigration and the church in The Lead here and here.

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