In a letter yesterday to the members of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has renewed the church's call for "immigration policies which respect the rights and gifts of those among us, now living in fear, whose contributions to our communities and economy are so valued."
The failure of recent attempts to reform US immigration laws have left migrants "without any hope of being brought in from the shadows and protected from the exploitation which has been their fate for far too long," Jefferts Schori wrote.
This lack of hope stems in part, she wrote, from an escalation of raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since reform measures failed to pass Congress.
"I would urge our government, in the strongest terms, to cease these incursions into work places, homes and other venues where migrants gather until we have comprehensive immigration reform," she wrote. "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."
Richard Parkins, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, said the Episcopal Church has, through its resolutions and advocacy, been a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform "which, if enacted according to principles set forth by a broad coalition of faith-based groups, would have helped achieve a better balance between enforcement and the social and economic needs to migrants and the employers and communities who host them."