Written by Gregg Brekke
Responding to a United State District Court judge's injunction against implementing certain parts of Arizona's new immigration law S.B. 1070, United Church of Christ leaders issued a statement in support of the ruling.
The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for Justice and Witness Ministries, and the Rev. John Dorhauer, Southwest Conference Minister, authored a statement in which they expressed concern for the law's ability to profile "specific members of our communities based solely on suspicion of their legal status."
Calling upon Scriptural references and resolutions passed by the UCC's General Synod, Jaramillo and Dorhauer continued their call for comprehensive national immigration reform that would "establish a safe and humane immigration system, consistent with our values."
A total of 26 denomination officials have added their signature to the letter which is included below in its entirety.
July 29, 2010
We, as leaders of the United Church of Christ gathered in retreat on this historic day, applaud yesterday's federal court decision to stop the implementation of key provisions outlined in Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which were scheduled to take effect today, July 29, 2010. The court's analysis of constitutional law confirms our concerns that this law unjustly singles out specific members of our communities based solely on suspicion of their legal status.
We thank all those voices that, in the days since the passage of this law, have spoken so clearly about the injustice of such a law and who have acted in ways that, no matter how seemingly insignificant, have compelled the court to take action and caused others to think more seriously about the impact of such legislation.
In April, Arizona passed new legislation governing immigrants; legislation that the UCC's Southwest Conference calls "the harshest anti-immigrant legislation in the country ... that codifies racial profiling and creates an atmosphere of suspicion, hatred, and scapegoating of immigrants and U.S. Citizens. (For more information go to http://www.ucc.org/justice/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
We have witnessed and have learned of the immense pain, suffering, and fear already inflicted upon immigrant families in and beyond Arizona as a result of this law. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is clear in calling us to welcome strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, listening to the voice of the still-speaking God, we will learn how to respond to these new sisters and brothers residing among us.
Therefore, in accordance with our mandate found in the Holy Scriptures and actions of the General Synod, we continue to call for national comprehensive immigration reform legislation to establish a safe and humane immigration system, consistent with our values, that:
- creates a process for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and eventual citizenship;
- upholds family unity as a priority of immigration policies;
- protects immigrant and native-born workers in their workplaces;
- aligns border and internal enforcement policies with humanitarian values and due process protections
- provides every detainee with access to their attorney, family, and faith leader, and ensures humane treatment in accord with state, federal, and international law; and
- allows undocumented young persons who grew up in this country to work, pay in-state tuition for higher education, and join the military, and be eligible for legal status and eventual citizenship (the DREAM Act.)
We commit to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Arizona today and in the days ahead as they encounter serious community tension and hostility. We call upon our members to participate in worship services, nonviolent rallies, and other events all around the nation. Above all, we pray that God's grace and peace will be evident among us.
Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President
John Dorhauer, Southwest Conference Minister
Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries
Douglas Anders, South Central Conference Minister
Susan Towner-Larsen, Minister for Conference Relations
Steve Sterner, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries
Jim Antal, Massachusetts Conference Minister and President
Felix C. Villanueva, Southern California Nevada Conference Minister
John R. Deckenback, Central Atlantic Conference Minister
Karen Smith Sellers, Minnesota Conference Minister
Gary M. Schulte, New Hampshire Conference Minister
Judith Youngman, Interim Conference Minister, Michigan Conference
Edith Guffey, Associate General Minister
Rita M Root, Interim Conference Minister, New York Conference
Bob Molsberry, Ohio Conference Minister
Cally Rogers-Witte, Executive Minister for UCC Wider Church Ministries
Mary Susan Gast, Conference Minister Northern California Nevada
Marja L. Coons-Torn, Penn Central Conference Minister
Charles L. Wildman, Connecticut Interim Conference Minister
David S. Moyer, Wisconsin Conference Minister
Alan N. McLarty, Penn West Conference
Charles Barnes, Conference Minister, Rhode Island Conference
Kent Siladi, Conference Minister, Florida Conference
Sheldon Culver, Conference Minister, Illinois South Conference
Randy Hyvonen, Conference Minister, Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference
Michael Denton, Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ