Do not mistreat aliens or oppress them, for you were aliens in Egypt. – Exodus 22:21
This past week , WAC came together with other groups in Wyoming, including business and agricultural interests, to launch Reasons for Reform – an effort to highlight the contributions of immigrants to our economy and the community and to ask for reform. WAC’s position is simple: Promote immigration reform that shows compassion, does not break up families and allows an accessible path to citizenship for those already in the United States.
WAC’s position reflects the positions of the denominations that lead WAC. It reflects the position of most U.S. Protestants in that nearly 7 out of 10 believe currently undocumented immigrants living in the United States should be allowed to legally stay in the country if they meet certain requirements. (Source: Pew Research Center). Nearly 7 out of 10 who identify themselves as Evangelicals believe it is important for Congress to pass significant new immigration legislation. (Source: LifeWay Research poll)
From a recent poll cited in a memo from National Immigration Forum which sponsors the Bibles, Badges and Business coalition that WAC is affiliated with, “78 percent of ‘Non-Trump Republicans’ polled oppose deporting all undocumented immigrants. More than three-quarters of voters support broad reforms that account for border security and a pathway to citizenship.”
Anti-immigrant proposals are harmfully detached from the views of most Christians and even of most American voters. The anti-immigrant rhetoric of some politicians has dominated the media, while too many others remain silent. Leaders across the political spectrum can engage in a positive and practical conversation on immigration. That’s what we as people of faith are called to do. A commandment from the time of Moses was, as stated in Exodus 22:21, – “Do not mistreat aliens or oppress them.” I don’t think that meant rounding them up, separating them from their families and deporting them. Instead of building walls and fighting diversity that immigration brings and has brought, let’s build bridges and appreciate diversity. If we get immigration reform, all immigrants will have access to the same opportunities in the classroom, workforce and in their worship. That’s what we need to be advocating with our congressional delegation while they are back in Wyoming on recess and with those running for the congressional House Seat.
Appreciating Diversity that includes the immigrants during the last two centuries is the theme of our Annual Meeting. If you haven’t already, please mark your calendars now to be at the Wyoming Association of Churches’ 40th Anniversary on October 14-15 in Casper. We are putting together several workshops and activities to celebrate our 40 years of doing justice in Wyoming and to celebrate our diversity. During the coming weeks, look for more information as our plans unfold.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.