A Vision for Immigrant Advocacy from the Commission on Hispanic Ministry 

“You and the stranger shall be alike before the Lord.” (Numbers 15:15)

Taking up the Presiding Bishop’s call to become the Beloved Community, we, the Commission on Hispanic Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and we as fellow travelers in the Jesus Movement call upon all our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church to join with us, on behalf of our refugee immigrant brothers and sisters, in:

Telling the Truth – An Unacceptable Reality:
These are our truths historically and currently:

Immigrants who flee poverty and violence are refugees, not criminals.

Immigrants live in constant anxiety and fear of arrest, incarceration, and deportation and they often suffer labor and sexual exploitation.

The threat of arrest and deportation imperils family unity.

Youth and young adults brought into this country as children are treated as criminals and denied opportunities to study, work, and have hope for the future.

Immigrant children do not have equal access to quality education.

Our historic propensity towards anti-immigrant sentiment results in actions that rob minority communities of their human dignity.

The current immigration system does not resolve these injustices in a comprehensive or compassionate manner nor does it prioritize family unity.

Proclaiming the Dream – A Vision of a Just World:
In a just world,

people understand and are connected enough to the immigrant community to know that they are refugees and not criminals.

there is relief from the threat of arrest, incarceration, and deportation.

there is legal recourse for those suffering labor and sexual exploitation.

policies do not threaten the integrity of the family.

legislation for persons brought into the country as children provides pathways to legal residency and citizenship.

educational opportunities for immigrant children are the same as those for all other children.

comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform fosters family unity and provides pathways to legal residency and citizenship.

Practicing the Way of Love – The Jesus Movement:
We urge churches to become the beloved community by:

learning about the factors affecting immigration and the experiences of immigrants both in their home countries and here.

inviting and including immigrants in their communities.

partnering with immigration advocacy groups.

developing missional partnerships for mutual prayer and ministry, advocacy, and resource-sharing with the communities that minister to immigrant communities.

Repairing the Breach: A Call to Society, Congregations, and Institutions:
To heal a broken creation, we will:

Set aside budget funds (1) to assist immigrants with the legal costs associated with regularizing their immigration status, (2) for parishes to conduct “know your rights” seminars and to prepare Powers of Attorneys for the parents of children in case the parents are detained or deported, and (3) to assist immigrant students in achieving their higher education goals.

Advocate and work to overturn any laws and regulation, such as Texas SB4, that cause people to live in fear, especially minority communities.

Advocate and work for the regularization of the status of persons brought into the country as children so that they can continue to work, study, and have hope for the future.

This is just a beginning.  How might you implement a strategic plan for immigrant advocacy?  It starts with a vision, it becomes a reality through you.

Posted by Eileen O'Brien