UM Bishops Applaud President's Step Toward Immigration Reform
United Methodist Bishops from around the United States, including Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Resident Bishop of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, are applauding President Barack Obama's announcement of upcoming conversations around federal comprehensive immigration reform. These talks could affect some 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
To date 28 Bishops have signed a statement that reads in part, "We join other religious leaders in thanking President Obama for placing immigration reform on his political agenda for 2009. As United Methodists we believe that immigration is a human rights issue that needs serious attention."
The statement laid out specific recommended areas of focus for comprehensive immigration reform, including:
- Provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants;
- Reunify immigrant families that have been separated by immigration itself or due to work place raids and ensuing indefinite detentions and deportations;
- Increase the number of visas for short-term workers to come into the United States to work in a safe, legal, and orderly way;
- Extend legal protection to all workers who come to stay for a certain period of time, as well as for those who stay permanently, including the right to bargain for higher wages, to protest against poor working conditions, and to preserve their human rights as workers, be they documented or undocumented;
- Eliminate privately-operated detention centers, which are not regulated by the federal or state governments, and end all indiscriminate raids.
"We stand firmly in believing that the inherent value of all immigrants means that all of their civil liberties should be respected and maintained regardless of their legal status. We believe, however, that our present immigration policies violate these basic rights," The United Methodist Bishops said in their statement. "We stand ready to assist President Obama in this mighty work of comprehensive immigration reform that would truly serve the common good."
Read complete statement here.