November 21, 2014 – Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute applaud U.S. President Barack Obama for making bold moves to reform the U.S. immigration system. Building on the immigrant reform actions of his nine predecessors, he announced changes that would permit children brought to the U.S. by their parents to remain indefinitely, expand the system of work permits, reduce barriers to higher education, and support family unification for certain bi-national families. These measures constitute a major step in the right direction.
While we applaud President Obama, we are reminded that these actions fall short of the comprehensive immigration reform we, along with all other fair-minded stakeholders, have been seeking for years. We must not leave LGBT families separated across borders, isolate and marginalize LGBT asylum seekers, or exclude any immigrant group from access to health care and social services. Money spent on border security would better serve immigrants’ need for quality health care, education, affordable housing. Despite these shortcomings, the President’s reforms constitute an expanded foundation upon which we must pursue greater freedoms.
We remind the President and Congress that immigrants are our sisters and brothers, neighbors, co-workers, friends, classmates, and fellow parishioners. They are contributors to healthy, vibrant communities. They are all children of God who deserve dignity, respect, and the freedom of opportunity that all other U.S. residents enjoy. Because executive actions by any President are temporary, we call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation to ensure that all who desire a better life in the United States have a permanent and legal pathway toward that pursuit.
For more information on MCC/GJI’s immigration reform principles, see our statement “No Stranger to God: A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families”
When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Sovereign your God. –Leviticus 19:33-34 (CEB)
SOS: Save Our Children
The world is facing a humanitarian crisis along the border between the United States of America and Mexico. Over 50,000 young people have arrived in the U.S. seeking freedom from violence and oppression and opportunities for meaningful work and basic education. They are innocent children—our sons and daughters, cousins, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, God’s children. They are crying out in need. The world must respond with favor, compassion, and resources. Indifference would be the most awful thing in the world.
Being compassionate requires us to examine the reasons families have in sending their vulnerable children to cross the border. A wave of violence has swept the central parts of Latin America, violence unseen in recent history. Children and their families are making the rational choice to seek shelter and refuge outside of their home countries and in the United States because the treachery of the journey and the uncertain fate awaiting them there pales in comparison to the known threats on their lives at home. They seek nothing more than a better life. As people of faith, we cannot idly sit by and let their struggles and their hopes be in vain.
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute call on elected and appointed officials at all levels of government and society to provide safe harbor for these children. Housing them in anything less than stable homes is inhumane. Robbing them of educational opportunities, suitable food, fresh clothing, and connection with loved ones in the U.S. is unjust. We must not treat them like criminals. They are our children. They are the world’s children. As such, they are gifts to be cherished. We invite faith leaders of every tradition to join us in this call for justice.
We call on governments from around the world to address the violence in Latin America that is driving migration. We call on the U.S. government to open our immigration system so that civil society can care for these children. The crisis highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform and we call on the Congress to take that measure back up. Through the lens of compassion, let us see this crisis. Through the lens of faith, may be stand up and respond.
This statement prepared by Kareem Murphy on behalf of The Moderator’s Public Policy Team,
Metropolitan Community Churches, The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.
To contact the Public Policy Team: RevJim@RevJim.org.
May 22, 2013 – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chose to exclude same-sex bi-national couples from legislation reforming the U.S. immigration system. Due to lack of support and threatened opposition, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) withdrew his amendment that would have allowed LGBT American citizens to sponsor their foreign-born legal spouses for citizenship, a benefit long afforded to opposite-sex married couples. It would have corrected a wrong that needlessly divides American families and tears husbands, wives, and parents away from their loved ones each day. Rev. Pat Bumgardner, the Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute, issued the following statement:
“There, indeed, is room for all. Whether we were brought here forcefully, of our own free will, or otherwise, we all call this country home. As people of faith, we see the innate humanity in all immigrants. We stand with them as members of our human family. We will not accept any system of power that seeks to divide us from one another, especially our most vulnerable. For these reasons, we express our grave disappointment in our elected leaders in the U.S. Senate for willfully excluding same-sex bi-national families from immigration reform efforts they have underway. As a nation, we are always stronger together. Those who would divide us, those who would leave anyone behind should be ashamed for not living up to the ideals our nation professes. Senators who promised to undermine attempts to pass truly comprehensive immigration reform and those who bowed to their vows are simply wrong and subject themselves to the wrong set of values.”
“We will continue to work with the broad coalition of immigration reform partners, grassroots activists, and our elected officials to ensure that bi-national same-sex couples, along with all other immigrants (regardless of their legal status) are included in the bill as it heads to the full Senate. We call on all our allies in the Senate to join us.”
For more information on the work of the Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches and comprehensive immigration reform, see “No Strangers to God: A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families.” http://mccchurch.org/no-strangers-to-god-a-call-for-sensible-immigration-reform-that-supports-and-reunites-families/
For more information, contact Rev. DeWayne Davis at
This statement prepared by Kareem Murphy on behalf of the Public Policy Team,
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.
President Obama spoke out on immigration soon after being reelected to the highest office of this nation. With support from both parties, he plans to chart the course to common-sense immigration policies. It is a profound moment in our country’s history. His call to unite immigrant families goes hand in hand with his historic support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and our families.
Read more on Rev. Nancy’s Huffington Post article