"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." --Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)
"...I was a stranger and you did not invite me in...Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." --Matthew 25:43,45 (NIV)
As people of faith, The United Methodist Church has a long history of welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees. Our values are deeply rooted in our sacred texts and remind us to love our neighbor and welcome the sojourner among us. Our Social Principles and Book of Resolutions contain the official statements of our denomination. These statements are determined through the work and action of General Conference delegates from around the world. Bishops, General Agencies and Annual Conferences are charged with equipping congregations and members to implement the decisions of General Conference.
What Does the United Methodist Church Say About Immigration?
- 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶ 162.H -- "We oppose immigration policies that separate family members from each other or that include detention of families with children, and we call on local churches to be in ministry with immigrant families."
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #3281 -- Welcoming the Migrant to the US
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #6028 -- Global Migration and the Quest for Justice
- 2016 Book of Resolutions #3164 -- Dream Act
Family Separation and Asylum Restrictions
The news is full of pictures and stories of children being separated from their parents since the zero-tolerance enforcement policy was enacted by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Thousands of children have been removed, regardless of their age. This practice compounds the trauma of families fleeing pervasive and deadly violence in their home countries. Additionally, the Justice Department has overturned asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. This is a shift from the practices of past administrations and will have severe repercussions for those fleeing extreme violence. (See 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶ 162.F for our social principle regarding violence against women.)
Called To Action!
Because United Methodists care about the "stranger in our midst"; believe in keeping families together; and believe in protecting survivors of violence, we are called to Act!
Pray for the children and their parents who are being separated. Pray for compassionate wisdom as we enforce our laws and policies.
Advocate with the Justice Department-- Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General for the United States and is also a United Methodist. He has the power to end both of the enforcement policies.
- Print out this sign
- Take a picture of yourself holding the sign. Are you clergy? Consider wearing your collar or stole. Take a picture with your family. Invite your friends to do the same.
- Post on Social Media using #KeepFamiliesTogether and tag the Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept)
- Sample Posts include
- Hey @TheJusticeDept this United Methodist wants you to #KeepFamiliesTogether and protect survivors of domestic and gang violence. @umcjustice
- The United Methodist Church disagrees with @TheJusticeDept policies about immigrants. #KeepFamiliesTogether
- Call 202.353.1555 or Email the Justice Department
Advocate with Congressional Leaders
- To find your representative, go to this link.
- Call 202-224-3121; ask for your Representative by name; tailor your message by using the following talking points:
- Introduce yourself as a concerned constituent and a United Methodist.
- Separating children from their parents can create stressful, dangerous, and traumatic circumstances that cause lifelong damage to a person physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Many of the children and families who are being separated have come seeking asylum in the U.S., fleeing violence and political instability. These policies continue to traumatize children and families who have already fled dangerous situations in their homes and their communities.
- Attorney General Sessions has stated that victims of domestic and gang violence cannot claim asylum. Those fleeing domestic and gang violence risk death if we do not strengthen protections for them.
- Ask your Congressional Representative and Senators Portman and Brown to make a public statement opposing the zero tolerance at ports of entry and the tightening of asylum protections.
- Ask your representatives to take focused legislative action to stop these enforcement policies.
Support the Maumee Watershed District
The U.S. Immigration Service raid at Corso Family and Garden Center in Castalia and Sandusky on June 5, 2018 resulted in the detainment of 114 workers and left many children without one or both of their parents. Through Hayes Memorial UMC, the district is focusing on providing care for these children, which include infants and toddlers. Learn how you can support the efforts of the District through Hayes Memorial UMC.
Bible study based on the Psalms and stories highlighting the plight and of immigrants and refugees.
Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens & Jenny Hwang Yang
Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.
Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis by Stephen Bauman, Matthew Soerens & Dr. Issam Smeir
West Ohio local pastor Scott Hicks shares thoughts about why it is important for the Church to not only care about the immigrant, but why we are called into action of justice and mercy on their behalf.
- Study what the Bible says about Immigration
- Pray for all impacted and our leaders
- Follow the steps outlined on this webpage
- If you have any questions, please contact hickslawoffice [at] gmail.com (subject: West%20Ohio%20Immigration) (Rev. Scott Hicks), Part-Time Local Pastor and Immigration Lawyer orrhug [at] wocumc.org (subject: West%20Ohio%20Immigration) ( Rebecca Hug), Community Engagement Coordinator.