After passing resolutions on immigration at the past two Annual Conference sessions, this year’s West Ohio Annual Conference heard a report on what is being done to meet the challenges posed by those resolutions. Soraya de Arco, a Church & Community Worker, and Rev. David Meredith, part of West Ohio’s Immigration Task Force, gave the report, first in Spanish, and then in English.
“In this nation today, and in the State of Ohio, there are individuals and families who do not want to go back to their countries of origin,” Meredith reported. “Because their children were born here, and they have a chance at employment here. And many times, it’s also dangerous to return, and some would face death on their return.”
These immigrants are trying to learn English, trying to keep their families together, trying to survive.
“Imagine if your life and livelihood, the well-being of your family, the future of your children, depended on your understanding of a complex and constantly reinterpreted set of laws about who can legally stay in this country,” Meredith remarked.
These families are often in a state of fear from the possible forced removal of loved ones. Yet in the resolutions passed by The West Ohio Conference, we have promised that these immigrants would receive fair treatment in our country, in addition to uniting against other forms of hatred, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
One of the most notable representations of these resolutions was the opening of the Eclipse immigration clinic in the Ohio River Valley district, which has provided legal consultation to more than 50 clients. This clinic is run by volunteer attorneys who are not required to specialize in immigration. Contact The West Ohio Conference office to learn more about how you or your church can become involved in this emerging ministry.
“This is justice work. We all should be a part of it in some way,” Meredith stated. “We may not agree on everything, but we do agree, as Christians, that each person is a child of God, and should be treated as a precious gift.”