Each day 11 million undocumented immigrants contribute to our society working essential jobs in agriculture, health care, transportation, and other service industries. Immigrants participate in and sacrifice for our congregations and communities as family, friends, and neighbors. And yet, each day is lived with uncertainty for the future and fear of being stripped away from family, home, and community.
The United Methodist Social Principles say: migrants, immigrants, and refugees for many reasons are “displaced people (who) are particularly vulnerable as their in-between status often provides them with few protections and benefits, leaving them open to exploitation, violence, and abuse.”
The scriptures say, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that, some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2) Jesus, himself a sojourner as a baby in Egypt and as he ministered to Israel says that to welcome the sojourner is to welcome him (Matthew 10:40). Then we find the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 which says, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
Furthermore, we should try to see Jesus in the disenfranchised and the displaced, legal or illegal, documented or undocumented. Scripture says, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all. (Jesus takes a child in his arms) “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)
What can we do? Support the U.S. Citizenship Act. The U.S. Citizenship Act protects 11 million undocumented immigrants, providing them with the ability to remain in the U.S. and access a pathway to citizenship. The United Methodist Church has for years supported legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented family, friends, and community. This legislation will put 11 million immigrant people on a path to citizenship, prioritize family unity and reuniting families who were separated and address the root causes of migration without tradeoffs to fund detention and deportation. This legislation is an opportunity for you to take us one step closer to rebuilding a welcoming, fair, humane, and functional immigration system.
In addition, vote smartly; give generously; join and support groups such as Sojourners; advocate for local/state/federal inclusive legislation; denounce xenophobic, racist, and violent reactions against migrants; build relationships with the Other; and call on our governments to cease all arrests, detainment, and deportation of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based on their immigration status until fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.