Position on Immigration

JFON follows the resolutions adapted by the United Methodist Church:

“We believe that the resources of creation are God’s gift for all people. We believe that as people of God we need to be open to others and welcome especially the sojourners in our midst. The Unites States of America prides itself as being open to ethnic diversity. However, United States citizens have not always held to that ideal. While some people have been welcomed, others have remained in the outskirts of U.S. cultural core and fabric. Furthermore, the reality is that with time U.S. borders have been getting narrower and often a spirit of hostility and racism toward the sojourners in the U.S. – refugees, immigrants, and visitors – has grown to the point of rejection and discrimination; We therefore call The United Methodist Church; to call local churches to seek ways to welcome, assist, and empower the refugee, immigrant, visitors, and undocumented person in their neighborhood, and to denounce the persecution of the sojourner in the U.S. as prejudicial and racist; [and] to request the General Board of Church and Society to work for public policy that is hospitable to visitors in the United States in every step of entry and visit to the U.S.” (2004 Book of Resolutions, “Refugees, Immigrants, and Visitors to the United States of America,” ¶119)

With grace and concern, the church must address the legal, economic, social, and human rights conditions of people who are legal or undocumented immigrants, and it must oppose the introduction of legislation by Congress or any state that would cause human suffering and a denial of such individual’s rights as interpreted through our biblical understanding of God’s grace to all peoples, but especially to the sojourner. Our faith, grounded in Christ and in the Wesleyan call to work for prophetic justice, calls us to follow our Social Principles and respond in appropriate and direct ways to prevent harm to the sojourner. Jesus teaches us to show special concern for the poor and oppressed who come to our land seeking survival and peace. We call upon United Methodist individuals and churches in the United States and through general boards and agencies throughout The United Methodist Church to do the following: (1) actively oppose anti-immigrant legislative action and support legislative action that protects the poor and oppressed in their quest for survival and peace; (2) urge stringent policing and penalties for coyotes (illegal transporters); (3) urge that humane and fair treatment be extended to all immigrants by business and agricultural groups; (4) advocate human rights (political, economic, and civil) for all people, including the strangers who sojourn in our land; (5) support communities and congregations by prayer and action where anti-immigrant measures are implemented; (6) continue to work with community organizations to provide forums for citizens to voice concerns, educate one another, and confront the problems of racism and fear or hatred of foreigners as obstacles to building community; (7) continue to work with civic and legal organizations to support communities who are now, or will be, affected by the destructive, deteriorating social issues raised by anti-immigrant measures; (8) support the legal needs of immigrants through church-based immigration clinics. (2004 Book of Resolutions, “Immigrants in the US: Ministries of Hospitality, Advocacy and Justice,” ¶266)

The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has links to the full content of those resolutions on the very bottom of their immigration page: http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=3784551&ct=3957095&notoc=1