By Julianne Paunescu, Peace and Non-Violence Work Group
Each day 11 million undocumented immigrants contribute to our society in myriad ways, particularly Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders, and those working essential jobs in agriculture, health care, service industries, and many other frontline duties. Immigrants participate and sacrifice in our congregations and community as faith leaders, family, friends, and neighbors.
And yet, every day undocumented people live with uncertainty of the future and fear of being stripped away from family, home, and community.
The United Methodist Church has for years supported legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented family, friends, and community. We resist “any immigration or economic system which calls for a perpetual class of second-class workers.” We believe “any reform of the immigration system must also allow for the full protections of all workers which includes the opportunity to gain legal status for all migrants (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”).”
As United Methodists, we call for fair and humane legislation that presents a practical and biblical way of “welcoming the sojourner among you as your own (Leviticus 19:34).”
We need Congress to pass legislation that:
- Creates a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants—without exceptions or provisions that further criminalize some people.
- Prioritizes keeping families together, reuniting families who are separated, and ending harmful detention and deportation practices.
- Protects the civil, human, and labor rights of all immigrants and ensures the dignity of immigrants is affirmed in places of work.
- The House and Senate introduced legislation that would offer long overdue protections to undocumented immigrants—U.S. Citizenship Act, Dream and Promise Act, SECURE Act, Citizenship for Essential Workers, Farm Workforce Modernization Act. However, the bills are not perfect. Each bill contains criminal barriers and penalties that exclude many black and brown immigrants who are impacted by racially unjust policing and the racial injustice embedded in our U.S. criminal justice system.
We have a moral obligation to assure immigrants can live and thrive in a country that can truly be home for all of us. When Congress passes legislation that allows undocumented people an opportunity for citizenship, we will move one step closer to having a welcoming, fair, humane, and functional immigration system. Contact your members of Congress today and ask them to support a path to citizenship for all!
Besides contacting your legislators, consider donating to or volunteering with Just Neighbors (https://www.justneighbors.org/about-us/). Founded in 1996 by pastors and attorneys of The United Methodist Church to develop a practical response to the legal challenges that low-income immigrants face in the United States, the organization provides high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. It also builds community among clients, staff, volunteers and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism. You may donate here- https://justneighbors.z2systems.com/np/clients/justneighbors/donation.jsp!