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Immigration Issues



The history of Presbyterians advocating on behalf of immigrants is as long as the history of the United States.  Today Presbyterians continue this legacy by working locally as well 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 and 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.

Tool Kits.  These kits focus on five topics: Detention, Refugee Resettlement, State Immigration Legislation, the DREAM Act, and Comprehensive immigration Reform.

Each packet includes general information on the topic, a movie suggestion with discussion questions, Scripture for reflection, details on organizing a speaker’s forum, information on legislative advocacy, suggestions for direct service partnerships, and referrals for additional information.

Disaster Preparedness:  A natural disaster has unique challenges for community members who are undocumented. Therefore communities and congregations should pay special attention to these needs and plan ahead. There are several resources available on preparedness and accessing resources after a disaster. Please see below.

Please see FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for information about federal benefits and scroll to "Citizenship."

The National Immigration Law Center for information on disaster assistance and immigrants.  

Urge your community to plan ahead, utilize the following resources for tips on planning ahead.

When Disaster Strikes: Promising Practices.

Disaster Relief and Planning – NILC

Visit Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's website

Mid-Council Work Group on Immigration (formerly Presbytery Task Force):  Begin a Work Group in your Presbytery to focus on addressing the immigration issues unique to your context.  This tool will help you gather demographics of your community, discover partners in this work, and offer suggestions on discernment tools.  The activities undertaken by Work Groups are as diverse as individuals.  To learn about what some Presbyterians are doing click here.

Presbyterian Policy: Presbyterian policy on immigration is adopted 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 an attempt to respond faithfully to the immigration issues in their context.  After prayer, discernment, and motions to amend the General Assembly takes action and votes to determine which overtures will become the official policy of the General Assembly.    

Advocacy links: Part of being a good advocate is being informed and receiving information from reliable sources who 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.

The Office of Public Witness in DC 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.  

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

Immigration Advocates Network 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.

National 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.

United 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. 

“Like” Presbyterians for Just Immigration on FaceBook and stay connected to breaking news and local events on immigration.