US churches call for comprehensive immigration reform

By agency reporter
September 26, 2010

The governing board of the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA) has issued a call to government officials and church leaders to take action on "comprehensive immigration reform."

The call follows a first resolution, issued in September 2008, which expressed support for legislation to reform the nation's immigration system and for local congregations in national and local advocacy for immigrants and their families.

The current resolution, "A Call to Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform," was issued in response to SB 1070, the Arizona law intended to mandate local police to determine the nationality of persons they detain, which many fear would lead to racial profiling by police, social service providers and members of the community.

"Since the enactment of this harsh legislation in Arizona," the resolution reports, "faith leaders from around the country travelled together to that state to stand in solidarity with immigrants and return to their communities with first hand accounts of the fear that is plaguing the immigrant community."

Noting the "terror and fear" in immigrant communities caused by the Arizona law, and the threat of similar legislation in two dozen states across the country, the Governing Board declared "as persons of faith ... we must recommit ourselves to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters, our neighbours, to do all we can to enact immigration reform."

The board's statement committed members "to engage national, state and local legislatures to voice our opposition to Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070 and similar laws that have been introduced in more than 22 states."

"Moreover, we commit ourselves to help educate our communities about the dangerous consequences such laws have on our nation and local communities, and we commit to one another to join in prayer and advocacy for those who are harmed by unjust legislation as well as for those who are working to overturn it."

The resolution called on the president and Congress "to recommit themselves to the comprehensive, effective and humane reform of immigration laws and enforcement structures" and called upon member communions and "millions of faithful Christians who worship in our churches to actively engage national, state and local legislatures to insist on comprehensive immigration reform at every level."

The resolution was adopted by unanimous voice vote during the Governing Board's two day meeting near Newark Airport from 20-21 September 2010.

The resolution was presented via telephone hook-up by the NCCUSA's Immigration Task Force: David A. Leslie, executive director of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; Jen Smyers, Church World Service; and Jan Olav Flaaten, executive director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council.

Read the full text of the resolution here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat file):


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