Backed by strong resolutions on immigration and migration just adopted at General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, United Methodists of the California-Nevada Conference took part in an interfaith witness May 5 to protest raids of Bay Area taquerías by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The May 2 raids came one day after a May Day Immigration Rights march in San Francisco. They resulted in detention of 63 people pending deportation hearings.
The interfaith witness, in which people of faith were joined by representatives of labor and members of the community at large, was an emergency response to the raids.
At General Conference April 23-May 2, United Methodists added “Welcoming the Migrant to the U.S.” to the Book of Resolutions, calling on The United Methodist Church to advocate for the comprehensive reform of the U.S. immigration system based on securing the human rights of all migrants, and stating that any legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system must include full access to legal status for all undocumented migrants.
It also calls on all UM churches to “advocate for legislation that will … provide an opportunity to attain legal status for all undocumented migrants for those currently in the United States as well as for those arriving in the future,” to “oppose the building of a wall between the United States and Mexico,” and to call for the U.S. Government “to immediately cease all arrests, detainment, and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including children, solely based upon their immigration status until a fair and comprehensive immigration reform is passed.”
The resolution was adopted May 1. The vote in favor was 825-29.
On April 30, delegates voted 796-24 to add the following text to paragraph 162 of the Book of Discipline, “The Rights of Immigrants”: “We recognize, embrace and affirm all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, healthcare, education and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.”