IMMIGRATION JUSTICE

IMMIGRATION IS A MORAL ISSUE

 

If we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person with no exceptions, than we are called to take action locally and nationally when immigration is used to dictate who belongs and who does not based on race, class, religion, ethnicity, ability, or sexual orientation. Our existence is internationally interdependent. We need to recognize the challenges of diversity, immigration systems and human migration. We must become allies and confront structural immorality and its power, with justice, compassion, and love.  

  • We were foreigners in the land of Egypt (Leviticus 19:33-34).

  • Jesus and his disciples were itinerants (travelers/wanderers).

  • The Good Samaritan was a foreigner who treated a beaten foreigner the way he would have (Luke 10:25-37).

  • The Qur’an teaches doing “good to...those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the ” (4:36).

 

 

WHY DO PEOPLE IMMIGRATE?

People endure forced or voluntarily migration from their homes due to  

  • Better their lives

  • Economic conditions – the primary driving force behind immigration worldwide

  • Enslavement

  • Environmental change / droughts, floods, radiation, and pollution

  • Environmental degradation

  • Ethnic cleansing

  • Famine

  • Fear of persecution

  • Genocide

  • Globalization

  • Inability to feed themselves

  • Lack of shelter

  • Marriage

  • Policies that address land ownership

  • Political persecution

  • Population growth

  • Protection against hostile environments

  • Reuniting of families

  • Safety /violence

  • Tariffs

  • Trade

  • Violence against women

  • Violence related to sexual orientation and gender expression

  • War/ armed conflicts

  • Working conditions

Most national boundaries are arbitrary and disregard historical tribal boundaries and wildlife migratory patterns. Nations have the right and obligation to protect the security and well-being of their citizens by enacting and enforcing MORAL immigration laws. Moral immigration laws should focus on just and humane treatment and contribute to the public good related to reducing crimes and improving health. Instead fear is the social and political force that labels people as illegals, criminals, and terrorists when they are not.

 

 

CURRENT IMMIGRATION POLICIES INCLUDE:

  • Denials related to lack of documentation issues

  • Difficult requirements

  • Extended time between applying and issuance of a permanent visa

  • Overstay of student and work visas

  • The creation of illegality of immigrants

  • The lack of effective advocacy for immigrants

  • The number of visas far below current demand

  • Working visas with employer sponsorship that results in exploitation

 

 

A BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM RESULTED IN:

  • Basic medical and other human needs not being met

  • Constant fear of deportation

  • Crossing in environments that are dangerous and remote

  • Denial of civil rights and protections that occur under citizenship

  • Deportation resulting in broken families

  • Education and health care denials

  • Egregious human rights violations without accountability or transparency

  • Enforcement that uses excessive federal government resources.

  • Forced work without pay

  • Greater profits for the private prison industry

  • Human exploitation

  • Human trafficking

  • Immigrants being paid less than citizens

  • Immigrants living under the threat of violence

  • Labor in unsafe and unhealthy conditions

  • Proliferation of for-profit detention centers

  • Unnecessarily overcrowded and lengthy detentions

  • Violation of community policing best practices and trust with the use of local law enforcement related to immigration

 

 

WE NEED TO PROMOTE MORAL POLICIES

These policies should treat all immigrants justly and humanely. This includes:

  • Access to the same medical care and education available to citizens

  • An efficient and transparent path to legal permanent residency and citizenship

  • An efficient asylum process for refugees in fear of violence or retribution

  • Collaboration and support to immigrant countries to address issues that contribute to immigration

  • Due process under the law, including legal representation, rights of appeal, and the right to initiate suits

  • Evaluation of human and environmental costs and benefits of proposed barriers to immigration and its policies.

  • humane treatment for those being detained

  • Non prison detention for those not considered a threat to society

  • Preservation of the family or couple unit,

  • Timely processing of applications for visas

  • Work visas that allow entry into legal permanent residency and citizenship

  • Work visas that do not depend on a single employer and allow multiple entries

  • Work visas that include the same protections for citizens related to fair wages and safety.

 

 

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE

  • Advocate for the enforcement of laws that prevent employers from abusing undocumented workers

  • Advocate for alternatives to detention for low-risk detainees

  • Advocate for expeditious implementation of our national commitment for visas to foreigners who have served alongside our military

  • Advocate for MORAL immigration policies.

  • Collaborate and cooperate with other congregations of all faiths.

  • Conduct citizenship classes.

  • Conduct voter-rights and registration drives that target new citizens.

  • Educate ourselves and others about human migration, immigration policies, and human rights abuses.

  • Educate yourself on the impact of trade and farm policies on human migration

  • Explore and implement ways to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants at special risk

  • Fund college scholarships that are available to undocumented young people

  • Help immigrants get needed medical and legal aid

  • Learn how to identify and report human and labor trafficking, in our communities.

  • Meet with local law enforcement to discuss their policies

  • Offer financial assistance to undocumented immigrants seeking to obtain legal immigration status

  • Oppose detention in privately-run facilities

  • Participate in service projects that address issues of immigration and immigrant rights

  • Participate in a refugee resettlement programs

  • Participate in advocacy efforts to change immigration laws that are not moral,

  • Participate in efforts that support the rights and dignity of immigrants

  • Provide curricula, resources, current information, and networking opportunities that congregations can use in their immigration education and advocacy efforts

  • Provide English fluency tutoring to help immigrants

  • Record stories of recent immigrants and of your own immigration histories

  • Report abuses of immigrants

  • Support efforts to deconstruct the for-profit prison system that treats humans as commodities and fuels a culture of mass deportation and incarceration

  • Tour detention facilities and inquire and document the treatment of detainees

  • Volunteer for local organizations providing aid and advocacy for immigrants

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