Immigration

When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

In a world becoming increasingly globalized, more people are leaving their homelands to seek better lives and opportunities in new countries. Their reasons for leaving are diverse and complex: economic necessity, war, or persecution. The U.S. has long been a nation of immigrants and we have consistently been conflicted about this. We gratefully welcome immigrants and their contributions, and we exclude them, discriminate against them and, at times, inflict grave harm upon them.

As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is unambiguous in calling us to welcome aliens and strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, let us listen to the voice of the still-speaking God. We will learn how to respond to these new sisters and brothers residing among us.

Immigration Updates

UCC Leaders Applaud President's Executive Action
On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a historic action to provide deportation relief to an estimated 5 million of our undocumented people. Leaders from throughout the United Church of Christ have been working hard to change our broken immigration policies for years. We have advocated, held vigils, marched, fasted and joined in civil disobedience to stop the deportations and stop family separations. We are deeply heartened that the President’s executive action reflects the call to hospitality and welcome that is at the heart of our faith traditions and is a core American value. Learn more:

Immigrant Care Fund - Southwest Conference
With initial donations from JWM and First Congregational Church in River Falls WI, the UCC Southwest Conference has created an Immigrant Welcoming Fund to support those doing direct service with unaccompanied children, asylum seekers and those organizing for immigrants rights. The fund is available to provide small grants for immediate needs. For example, last week, the fund was able to provide cell phones to Yuma UCC to help in it's care of women and children asylum seekers recently released by immigration enforcement.

Donations can be made to the fund by sending checks to the Southwest Conference at 917 E. Sheridan, Phoenix, AZ 85006, and putting "Immigrant Welcoming Fund" in the memo line. Requests for grants can be made by emailing or calling Tyler Connoley, SWC Immigrant Care Coordinator at 575-404-1545 or tconnoley@uccswc.org.

UCC Supports Sanctuary Cases to Stop Deportations
In Tucson and Tempe Arizona United Church Congregations Good Shepherd UCC, First Congregational of Phoenix and Shadow Rock United Church of Christ have all offered letters of support to help immigrants facing deportations to stay with their families. Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson has offered Rosa Robles Loreto Sanctuary allowing her to live at the church for proection from immigration authorities while she seeks to win deferred action to stop her deportation order. You can stand with Rosa by signing the Groundswell petition here. Earlier this summer, Shadow Rock UCC had offered Sanctuary to Marco Tulio which helped him win an order of supervision to stay with his family.

Letters of support for Rosa Robles Loreto and Southside Presbyterian Church:

Call on President Obama to Stop Deportations!
On July 31 more than 100 faith leaders and immigrant rights activists were arrested at the White House as part of a massive action to call on President Barack Obama end his inhumane immigration enforcement policies. UCC Executive Minister, Rev. Linda Jaramillo, joined bishops, nuns, rabbis, pastors, workers and impacted immigrants in urging the President to stop deportations immediately and protect unaccompanied children who have sought refuge in the U.S. Join your voice with advocates around the nation in calling on President Obama to stop deportations! Call 1-866-961-4293 now!

Responding to a Humanitarian Crisis of Unaccompanied Children on the Border
We are facing an escalating humanitarian crisis as a growing number of unaccompanied children cross the U.S.–Mexico border at an increasing and alarming rate. So far in FY 2014 alone 57,000 children have migrated to the border. It is from dire circumstances that a child chooses to migrate thousands of miles. As people of faith we have an ethical obligation to care for the most vulnerable among us. The root causes of these changing migration patterns are extreme poverty, violence, and rising homicide rates in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, from which most of the children are arriving. Learn more and find ways to engage.

UCC advocates fight for immigrant rights during week-long action against deportations
April 8, 2014
UCC members and congregations are calling for an end to deportations during the National Week of Action to End Deportations.

UCC pastor works to create immigrant-welcoming communities throughout Arizona
February 20, 2014
Arizona's Pima County covers 9,188 square miles and is home to the largest stretch of land that runs along the United States-Mexico border. Now, thanks to the work of UCC pastor the Rev. Randy Mayer, immigrants can feel a little more at home there.

Commentary: Why I fasted in front of the U.S. Capitol for immigration reform
December 6, 2013
On Dec. 5, the Rev. Linda Jaramillo flew to Washington, D.C., to join the Fast for Families, where she fasted for 24 hours in solidarity with the core fasters, who had gone 22 days with no food, just water, spending their days in a tent in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

Faith leaders at General Synod 29 march in Long Beach, CA for immigration reform.

Why I Got Arrested Today With 20 Undocumented Women
September 12, 2013
Commentary: A few minutes ago, I got arrested on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I joined more than one hundred other women -- including 20 undocumented women -- to bring attention to our nation's horrendously unjust immigration system.

United Church of Christ marches for comprehensive immigration reform
July 1, 2013
In a visible witness for compassionate comprehensive immigration reform, advocates from the United Church of Christ took to the streets of Long Beach, Calif., on Monday as the General Synod voted to adopt a resolution supporting immigration reform and the protection of the human rights of immigrants.

Immigration Coalition Recommendations to Congress: an inter-faith coalition made of 35 organizations, released recommendations for the 113th Congress to reform our immigration system. Download report.

Resources

Our work on this issue is rooted in policy voted on by our UCC General Synod. You can find General Synod Resolutions on immigration from GS XXVIIII (2013) GS XXVI (2007), GS XIII (2001), and GS XXII (1999).

Become an immigrant welcoming congregation. The Journey toward becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation involves multiple study and reflection sessions. Download this wonderful toolkit created by our UCC Southwest Conference.

Love Has No Borders - Essays and stories of how faith leaders resisted Alabama's Anti-Immigrant Law edited by UCC Pastor Rev. Angie Wright. Get your copy here.

No Longer Strangers: The Practice of Radical Hospitality, a book by UCC pastor Rev. Wendy J. Taylor, explores the lonely and difficult lives of migrant farm workers in Northern California and follows one woman’s compassionate response to their plight.

Behind the Wall
Video by Rev. Art Cribbs. Made possible through a grant by Neighbors in Need.

We are America Stories - stories of immigrants

Deportation 101
A Community Resource on Anti-Deportation Education and Organizing  - revised May 2010 is a curriculum prepared by the Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, the Immigrant Defense Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

Understanding the DREAM Act
The education of immigrant children is not only a smart investment; as an expression of the call to love our neighbors ad ourselves, it is also a moral imperative.  The issues of immigration and immigration enforcement affect the children in immigrant families and the public schools that serve those children.

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Noel Anderson
UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants' Rights
100 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, District of Columbia 20002

nandersen@cwsglobal.org