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
As the world becomes more globalized, more people are leaving their homelands to seek better lives and opportunities in new countries. Their reasons for leaving are diverse and complex, but often they are driven by economic necessity, war, or persecution. In 2010, 40 million people in the United States had been born outside the country, or one in nine residents. Of these, about 11 million were here without authorization.
Each year hundreds of immigrants die as they seek to enter the United States and many immigrants face harsh conditions once they arrive. They leave behind their families, friends, and all they know. Many of the undocumented come only because they are forced to migrate by poverty, political repression, or natural disaster.
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. But what does this mean in the 21st century?
We recognize that our immigration system is fundamentally broken. The only solution is comprehensive immigration reform with a route to legalization for people who have contributed so much to this society. When a sizable share of the population is afraid to speak out about abuses, terrified of going to the police or other authorities when they have legitimate problems, and hesitant to even educate or seek health care for themselves and their children, all society loses. The Church has a vital role to play in this struggle. We must call for an end to racist, xenophobic, and fear-based attitudes and policies and recognize immigrants as our sisters and brothers in Christ.
UCC General Synod Resolutions and Pronouncements
General Synod XXVII (2007) recognized our militarized border enforcement strategy was ineffective and inhumane, and called for advocacy and action.
General Synod XXIII (2001) endorsed the efforts of Humane Borders giving humanitarian assistance to migrants, and urged policy changes to reduce the number of migrant deaths.
General Synod XXII (1999) condemned the unjust treatment and harassment of Latino/Latina/Hispanic persons both at the border and away from the border, and called for a “complete transformation and revolution” in our minds, hearts, bodies, and political will to change U.S. immigration policy.