Going back to at least 1984, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has expressed concern for the plight of immigrant peoples in the United States, has advocated for compassionate care of immigrants and their families, and has encouraged actions to change immigration policies in the United States.
The PC(USA) Synod of the Northeast has established Immigration Action Network to provide support and resources for individuals, congregations, and presbyteries to become educated about and involved in this timely, important issue. You may find out more here: Immigration Action Network
The concept of “sanctuary” is at least as old as biblical times, when there were Cities of Refuge established throughout ancient Israel. Many people in the Church today are wrestling with the need for, and the complex issues involved in, declaring their congregation to be a “sanctuary church.” Here is a webpage that offers important and helpful resources about this question: Office of the General Assembly: Sanctuary
Sanctuary – A Discernment Guide for Congregations
Provided by the Office of Public Witness of the PC(USA), this guide gives background on Sanctuary, provides theological grounding for involvement in the movement in a way that is based in solidarity instead of charity, and key discernment questions for congregations to find a starting place in the work.
General Assembly Resolutions
Here are several documents that relate to this question:
- The 220th General Assembly (2012)
On taking action concerning the place and plight of immigrant people (both documented and undocumented)
- The 220th General Assembly (2012)
Resolution on the plight of immigrant people in our neighborhoods and communities of faith
- The 222th General Assembly (2016)
Resolution Reaffirming the Ministry of Sanctuary by Congregations
Advocacy can take some of the following forms:
- 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
- education on immigration issues
- Sanctuary or Sanctuary-in-the-Streets
- direct actions at immigration facilities
- providing care to immigrants, immigrant families, and/or people called to advocacy and acting on behalf of immigrants (e.g. providing child care, meals, pastoral care, etc.)
Be creative, prayerful and discern how, as a community, God is calling you to respond to the needs of our communities. For information about advocacy in this area, a number of resources are available here:
- County Office – “Who should I contact to advocate? Who are the elected officials for my area?” County Office is a quick reference guide for accurate, up-to-date information about all government offices and public records sources in your local area.
- Office of the General Assembly: Advocacy
- The National Sanctuary Movement also has a number of resources, including their congregational toolkit.
- Welcome and the Law a Resource from the Office of the General Assembly legal department
- Travel Information post March 2017 information from the Office of the General Assembly legal department
- Know your Rights from the ACLU
- How to make a Family Care and Safety plan
The webpage for the Office of Immigration Issues of the General Assembly, which has links to a great number of resources (as is updated frequently) can be found here: Office of Immigration Issues of the General Assembly
Additional Local Resources
- need to populate
The Genesis of Exodus
This is a new resource from the Office of the General Assembly investigating the root causes of migration. The trailer can be viewed below and follow this link to the full resource kit.
If you know of other resources to be added to this page, please contact Pam Garner at the Presbytery office.