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)
National borders around the world appear to shrink with each passing day, leading God’s people to seek better lives and more opportunities wherever they exist. The United States has a complicated but long history with welcoming the foreign born.
Our faith mandates that we welcome and offer the immigrant sanctuary. We hold to the principle that all people living in the United States are entitled to protection provided by due process of law and that all immigrants and their families are entitled to receive protection granted by our laws and Constitution.
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) condemns in the strongest possible terms rhetoric and policies that seek to devalue or demean immigrants as anything less than our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, neighbors and friends, all made equally in the image of God.
Further, MCC calls upon the U.S. Congress to pass and implement comprehensive immigration reform which will allow millions of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States and are often parents and spouses of U.S. Citizens to have a pathway to legalization and to full social and economic integration into the United States. Such reforms would enhance our immigration system for the better, righting the wrongs of past restrictions that left immigrants and their families living in the shadows and ensuring that all those wishing better lives for themselves and their families will be welcomed to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in this country.
As the Congress considers immigration reform legislation, we call on all lawmakers to ensure that such legislation supports fairness and equality specifically for LGBT families regardless of their legal status. We applaud the approach of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to comprehensive immigration reform, an approach that includes the “Uniting American Families Act.” Among the proposal’s seven principles is a call to protect “the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.” We thank Rep. Luis Gutierrez for his leadership on immigration reform and immigration equality in particular, along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who originally introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Michael Honda for his corresponding efforts.
We call the U.S. Senate to follow the leadership of the House of Representatives, and commend the work of Senator Patrick Leahy.
We applaud President Obama for instituting federal policy reforms that will enable the children of undocumented immigrants a more viable pathway to securing a college education. We also applaud his reprioritization of deportation cases that assigns the lowest priority to deportation of bi-national same- sex couples. These are common sense reforms that promote our best values and ensure that more and more of this nation’s residents maintain meaningful opportunity for life, liberty, and happiness.
We urge all our national leaders, state legislators and fair-minded citizens to support immigration reform, upholding the God-given equality of all who call this land home.
We celebrate the citizens of Maryland who approved that state’s version of the DREAM Act, allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to receive the same in-state tuition benefits as other Marylanders, while cautioning against putting questions of justice and equality to the ballot.
We pray that all national and state leaders, as well as all people of good will, will join the effort to help the nation live into its promise of equal opportunity for all. MCC will continue to work so that no one is outside of the light of justice and the protection of the law. God’s people deserve no less.