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Immigration Issues

Advocacy

 

Image of U.S. Capitol Building

The history of Presbyterians advocating on behalf of immigrants dates back to 1893 when the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Today Presbyterians continue this legacy by working locally as well as nationally to join the struggle to ensure immigration policy is more just and consistent with Christian principles.

Immigration law in the U.S. is rivaled in complexity only by the tax code. For this reason, coupled with the fact that immigration often invokes an emotional response, the task of reform can seem too big for any one person or congregation and we can slip into paralysis. The information on this page will help Presbyterians take action and respond to the needs of their community, helping build support for eventual federal immigration reform.

Advocacy can take the form of inquiring about programs that involve local law enforcement in enforcing federal immigration laws, contacting your legislators to urge them to take action on immigration, direct service in partnership with local immigrant communities, and education on immigration issues. Be creative, prayerful, and discern how, as a community, God is calling you to respond to the needs of our communities.


Local and Federal Advocacy Combined

Mid Council Work Group on Immigration
(Formerly Presbytery Task Force)

Presbyterian Policy

Advocacy Links



Local and Federal Advocacy Combined

Local advocacy is key in fostering and developing personal relationships and community support. Local advocacy is the way a community learns from those affected about what they need and provides direct support to address the effects that certain policies have had on their lives. To learn more about building coalitions and communities for a local response, please see our supporting immigrants, sanctuary, and family care plan pages. Then also remember that immigration laws and policies are made at the federal level and advocacy that goes beyond treating the effects of policy are key in ending the systems that are harming friends and family. We must visit Congress and ask for change.

Images of OGA Staff with members of U.S. Congress

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Mid Council Work Group on Immigration (formerly Presbytery Task Force)
 

The activities undertaken by a work group will depend on your local context. Discover what you community needs by partnering with local organizations led by those who are affected. See our Supporting Immigrants page for some ideas of where to go to discover the needs of your community.

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Presbyterian Policy

Presbyterian policy on immigration is approved by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which convenes biennially. Presbyterians from across the country draft overtures for the assembly to consider in faithful response to the immigration issues in their context. After prayer, discernment, and motions to amend, the General Assembly votes to determine which overtures will become the official policy of the General Assembly.

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Advocacy Links

Part of being a good advocate is being informed and receiving information from reliable sources which site their authorities. Below are links to websites that provide information and resources that will be helpful to you in your effort to become an informed voice in your community.

Facebook Logo “Like” Presbyterians for Just Immigration, a page on Facebook administered by the Presbyterian Office of Immigration Issues, and stay connected to breaking news and local events on immigration.

PCUSA SealThe Office of Public Witness in D.C. has created an advocacy resource, Holy Discontentment: Lifting Your Voice for Effective Advocacy. This is a short guide to advocacy that includes tips on writing letters, contacting your representatives, and utilizing social media.

United We Dream LogoUnited We Dream is a network of youth-led organizations across the country working to provide a pathway to citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. as children. They provide resources on reaching out to and supporting undocumented youth in local communities and informing them about the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

NILC LogoNational Immigration Law Center is the only national legal advocacy organization in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants and their families.children. They provide resources on reaching out to and supporting undocumented youth in local communities and informing them about the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

AILA LogoThe American Immigration Lawyers Association is a voluntary association of immigration lawyers that releases statements on policy and provides resources that explain immigration policy.

IAN LogoImmigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrants’ rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication, collaboration, and services among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible, and comprehensive online resources and tools.

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