Providing roadmap to citizenship and promoting family reunification listed as top priorities
Leaders ask Minnesota Christians to urge their Congressional Representatives to pass just, compassionate immigration reform
St. Paul, Minn. (June 26, 2013)—Minnesota’s Catholic bishops, through their public policy office, the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), and Transform Minnesota, a regional network of evangelical churches and ministries from nine denominations, today announced an open letter (click here to view) to Minnesota’s congressional representatives that urges them to work together to pass just and compassionate immigration reform. The letter comes as the Senate is poised to approve S. 477, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, and as the focus shifts to the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill that includes a roadmap to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States who are currently without papers.
The Minnesota Catholic and Evangelical leaders’ letter is a statement of Christian conviction. It calls upon the Christian communities of Minnesota to heed the biblical command to welcome the stranger in our midst and encourages them to work for just, compassionate treatment of immigrants. The letter recommends five key principles that should be reflected in any bipartisan legislative solution on immigration, including an “equitable process towards earned legalization for foreign nationals” and giving “priority to family reunification.”
“While S. 477 is not a perfect bill, it is a positive step in the right direction to put millions of undocumented workers on the path to citizenship,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota. “We hope that the final legislation Congress produces provides a clear road map for aspiring citizens, and helps bring them out of the shadows of society.”
The faith leaders recognize that the issue of immigration can be politically divisive, and stress in the letter that although nations have a right to secure their borders, the current immigration system is broken and fails to reflect a national commitment to “human dignity, family unity, and the rule of law that defines us as Americans.”
“Making the path to citizenship contingent upon particular border enforcement goals risks leaving millions of undocumented persons in a permanent underclass,” said Jason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference executive director. “And though we question the recent drastic expansion of enforcement resources, which we think could be used for better purposes, and continue to believe that the best method of border security is a sound temporary worker program, we nevertheless understand the need for bipartisan compromise and support moving current federal legislation forward. Its benefits outweigh the adverse impact of our current broken system.”
Both organizations are encouraging Minnesota Christians, and all people of good will, to share the letter with their Congressional Representatives and encourage them to keep the Christian principles outlined in the letter in mind as they consider immigration reform legislation in the coming weeks.
The letter has already been signed by more than 100 Christian faith leaders from across Minnesota, including all seven Catholic bishops, several influential evangelical pastors, all six ELCA bishops, and the head of the Minnesota Council of Churches. The signatories represent more than two million Minnesota Christians.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013
CONTACT: Jessica Zittlow
O: 651-256-7579/ C: 651-368-1043
Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. MCC supports the ministry of the Catholic bishops and represents the six Catholic dioceses of Minnesota. (http://www.mncatholic.org/)
ABOUT TRANSFORM MINNESOTA
Transform Minnesota is a regional evangelical network of churches from nine evangelical denominations and is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals. (http://www.transformmn.org/)