Council of Bishops Issues Statement on Immigration

May 20, 2009

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church this month issued a Statement on the U.S. Immigration Situation, which cites biblical "evidence that God cares for sojourners" and the "daily suffering of immigrants who live and work among us," in prefacing a call for President Obama and all Congressional leaders "to support comprehensive immigration reform."


Such reform, the bishops say, should provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants; increase the number of short-term visas issued; extend legal protection to undocumented, as well as documented, workers; reunify immigrant families separated by immigration itself or by workplace raids and detentions and deportations; and eliminate privately operated detention centers and end all indiscriminate raids.


The statement reads, in part, "Our calling as followers of Jesus Christ is to stand in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors and to advocate for justice on their behalf.


"We acknowledge that all nations have the right to secure their borders, but the primary concern for Christians is the welfare of immigrants and communities."


Read complete May 2009 Council of Bishops statement.


In April, 28 bishops - including Warner H. Brown, Jr., Resident Bishop of the California-Nevada Annual Conference - signed a statement thanking President Obama for placing immigration reform on his political agenda for 2009, and stating, "As United Methodists we believe that immigration is a human rights issue that needs serious attention."


They made the same recommendations for reform as did the full Council of Bishops in May.


Read April statement of 28 bishops.