A statement from the Immigration Task Force and the Refugee Task Force of the Desert Southwest Conference Board of Church and Society.
Over the first 46 days of President Trump’s administration, executive actions on immigration and refugees have halted entry to refugees seeking shelter in the United States, spread fear in the hearts of documented and undocumented persons, and kept those most in need of safety and security stranded around the world.
The Immigration and Refugee Ministries Task Forces of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church strongly condemn these actions. As United Methodists, we recognize the inherent value of every person, regardless of race, religion, national origin or immigration status. We look into the faces of those fleeing violence and oppression in their home countries, and we remember that Jesus was himself a refugee. We see his face in them. (2016 Book of Resolutions, #3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
Response to Immigration Policies
More recently, following President Trump’s use of the phrase “military operations,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began military operations targeting ANY undocumented person for deportation. ICE has already deported many people nationwide, separating families and tearing apart our communities. We vehemently oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children, and we call on local churches to be in ministry with immigrant families. (What we believe: Rights of Immigrants)
The World Community subsection of our United Methodist Social Principles states: Persons and groups must feel secure in their life and right to live within a society if order is to be achieved and maintained by law. We denounce as immoral an ordering of life that perpetuates injustice and impedes the pursuit of peace. (Social Principles: The World Community)
The most disturbing steps taken by the Executive Branch have been executed by ICE. This past Wednesday, ICE decided to remove a woman from El Salvador from a Texas hospital while she was awaiting surgery to remove a brain tumor. We denounce these actions as extremely inhumane and believe this ordering of life is starkly against our principles as United Methodists. (Huffington Post Source Article)
We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. Therefore, we work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. We support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, communication, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection. (Social Principles: The Social Community)
Response to Executive Order on Refugees
President Trump’s most recent executive order issued this week, which allows refugees from Iraq, but continues to bar refugees from some of the most war-torn countries around the world, does little to alleviate our concerns. We are called upon, as Christians, to ensure that refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, who are also fleeing for their lives, are not discriminated against based on their country of origin. The revised order still reduces the overall number of refugees into the United States in the coming year to less than half of original projections. This leaves tens of thousands of refugees in precarious living situations around the world who could be resettled to safety in the United States. It is troubling that this administration’s policies continue to disrupt the peace and order that exists in our community and especially in our Muslim immigrant communities. (New York Times)
Now is the time for our community of faith to become active in response to these divisive policies and speak of the love that Jesus Christ taught us. We call on our churches to recognize not only the struggles of immigrants and refugees but also their gifts and contributions which lead to a fuller, more diverse community from which we all benefit. (Social Principles: Rights of Immigrants)
The Church must show our solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters and we must speak out to our congressional, state and local leaders against such policies. More than anything now is the time to have conversations about understanding immigration and the desperate need immigrants face in seeking refuge and security outside of their home countries.
The task forces continue to support the work of our sanctuary congregations, cities, and those working with refugees. The Immigration Task Force will continue to work towards the creation of the Future Arizona Justice For Our Neighbors, so we can provide legal support to our immigrant brothers and sisters. (Support the Future Arizona Justice For Our Neighbors)
To find out who your representatives at the congressional, state, and local levels are and how to contact them, please go to this website: https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/
If you would like to host a Know Your Rights Workshop at your church, please contact the Immigration Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org to help support your immigrant community.
If you would like to know more about ways your church can support refugees, please contact the Refugee Ministries Task Force at email@example.com.