You shall not oppress the resident alien. Exodus 22:21-23
To uphold the dignity of every human being by advancing our nation’s legacy of welcome, LEAMNJ supports the care of refugees and immigrants. International human rights principles dictate that immigrants should only be detained as a last resort.
In the United States, immigration detention is not, in theory, meant to be punitive. Rather, the government’s sole interest in detaining individuals is to ensure compliance with immigration court dates and orders of removal. However, the current system uses a one-size-fits-all approach, presuming nearly all immigrants require detention to comply with these government interests.
LEAMNJ urges congress to maintain legal protections, reject detention, ensure access to legal services and due process, and adequately fund services for refugees, children and families. We also are working to urge Congress to support funding that serves arriving refugees, seeking asylum, trafficking and torture survivors, and an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children fleeing violence and persecution and seeking safety in the United States.
WHAT DOES THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH SAY?
A Letter from the Episcopal Presiding Bishop Curry; “Be not afraid!”
Often in the gospels, fear grips the people of God, and time and again, either the angels, or Our Lord himself, respond with the same words of comfort: “Be not afraid.”
In times like this fear is real. And I share that fear with you. Our instinct tells us to be afraid. The fight-or-flight mentality takes hold. At the present moment, many across our Church and our world are grasped by fear in response to the terrorist attacks that unfolded in Paris last Friday. These fears are not unfounded. We can and should support law enforcement officials who are working hard and at great risk to protect us from crime and keep us safe. And yet, especially when we feel legitimate fear, our faith reminds us “Be not afraid.” The larger truth is that our ultimate security comes from God in Christ.
In the Book of Leviticus, God says to the people of Israel that, “the foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” Accordingly, we welcome the stranger. We love our neighbor. The Episcopal Church has long been committed to resettling refugees in our own communities fleeing violence and persecution.
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, through its Episcopal Migration Ministries service, works with dioceses and congregations, and the United States government, to settle refugees in communities across this great country. The Episcopal Church has been engaged in this ministry for more than 75 years. We will not let the nightmare this world often is keep us from carrying out the words of Jesus who told us to be a neighbor to those in need.
Refugees from places like Syria seek to escape the precise same ideological and religious extremism that gave birth to the attacks in Paris. They seek entry into our communities because their lives are imprisoned by daily fear for their existence. Just as Jesus bids us not to be afraid, we must, in turn, pass those words of comfort to those who turn to us for help.
But Jesus calls us to go even further: not just to love our neighbors and our kin, but to love our enemies. This is particularly difficult when we are afraid. But even in the midst of our fear we stand on the solid ground of our faith and proclaim the faith in Christ crucified and risen from the dead. In practical terms, this may mean finding strength in prayer, or in our neighbors, or in our churches, or in acts of solidarity with others who live in fear. This is the hope that casts out fear.
The fear is real. So we pray. We go to church. We remember who we are in Jesus. Our resurrection hope is larger than fear. Let nothing keep us from that hope, that faith, that security in Gods dream for all of humanity.
“Be not afraid!”
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
WHAT DOES THE ELCA SAY?
In 1998, the ELCA adopted a message on immigration that reiterated long-standing Lutheran commitments to both newcomers and just laws that serve the common core conviction was that “hospitality for the uprooted is a way to live out the biblical call to love the neighbor in response to God’s love in Jesus Christ. Two Biblical references guided the message’s direction:
1) “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34) and
2) “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35). In Jesus of Nazareth, the God who commands us to care for the vulnerable identifies with the human stranger—the person unknown and regarded with suspicion who stands on the receiving end of both welcome and hospitality, resentment and hostility. The ELCA built on this message in 2013 by passing a resolution entitled, Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform.