Petition 81395

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Immigration Reform (81395-C1-R9999)

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PREAMBLE
For many years, the United Methodist Church, through General Conference resolutions, has expressed its interest and concern for the immigrants in this country and throughout the world.  However, the vulnerability of this population has been exacerbated by the dynamics of the globalization of the economy, and the pervasiveness of violence worldwide.
  
When people are uprooted while migrating in search of a better life, it places them in an extremely dangerous position exposing them to exploitation, abuse, persecution and even death.
  
The present political reality of the United States, since “9-11” has created a climate of fear that erodes the basic elements of trust toward those who look, speak and think different from the majority of the population thus putting the immigrants, particularly the undocumented, at risk of being perceived as a “threat” to the security of this country.
  
We bring this resolution to reclaim our role and mission as people of faith whose commitment is to become aware of the root elements of this problem and to respond in order to eliminate the causes that create these subhuman conditions.
  
We hope to use this resolution as a tool to inform, educate, raise consciousness, and rekindle our commitment for this important issue. We hope that those who want to take seriously the biblical admonition-mandate to help the sojourner in our midst have the opportunity to respond by acting decisively to eliminate this treacherous situation.
  
WHEREAS, the United States has been a nation of immigrants from its inception, sustained in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, that “all men are created equal, endowed by his Creator with inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”,
  
WHEREAS, the Council of Bishops in its document entitled TO LOVE THE SOJOURNER called upon the United Methodist Church, the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries to assist the churches in advocating for fair and just immigration laws and practices,
  
WHEREAS, the 2004 Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church has declared our denomination’s position on immigration reform (No. 118) stating that, “undocumented persons posses certain inalienable rights named and lifted in the International Declaration on Human Rights, the United Nations Charters, as well as the documents concerning immigration of the Geneva Convention, and the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights,

  
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the General Conference
  
  
Urges all annual conferences in the connection to carefully examine the immigration situation in the United States, to remember our evangelical calling and to seize the opportunity for inclusion of immigrants in our church community.
  
Calls upon Annual Conferences, Districts and local churches to receive training on Immigration and Border Issues and to adopt a curriculum for the study of these issues and to promote a program of study by all local churches;
  
Urges the General Agencies of the Board of Church and Society, Board of Global Ministries, Board of Discipleship and the Commission on Religion and Race to help our churches to create local ministries for immigrants such as ESL classes, citizenship classes, working with Justice for Our Neighbors to establish immigration clinics, organizing fellowship dinners, and advocate for social justice by keeping abreast of immigration issues and working to shape public policy.
  
Urge all our churches to become sanctuary churches – to recognize that reaching out to immigrants is part of our evangelical purpose, a new challenge and a fresh opportunity from God.  We are called to extend “radical hospitality’ to all regardless of origins or status.
  
Calls upon our churches and conferences to provide financial support for border ministries to approve and support a border ministries to minister to the special needs of immigrants such as: health, shelter, ESL, life saving supplies (food, water, blankets, first aid as well as their spiritual needs.)
  
Calls for legislators to pass fair and just immigration laws that will:

Treat immigrants with dignity and respect;

  • Allow undocumented immigrants, who are contributing to our society to remain in the U.S. and become permanent residents and eventually citizens;
  • Increase visa numbers to eliminate the long waiting periods that families presently undergo;
  • Provide for guest workers to receive fair wages, fair treatment, protection of the law and to become permanent residents;
  • Grant permanent residence to college bound students;
  • Safeguard asylum seekers and insure an opportunity for a fair hearing;
  • Protect individuals and organizations who act as Good Samaritans without regard to the immigration status of the persons they serve.
        
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to all members of Congress and the President of the United States of America.