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Annual Conference Actions: Advocating for comprehensive immigration reform


Submitted by Claudia Roberts

Each year at the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Session, in among the budgets, appointments, reports, and celebrations are conference legislation items. Many of these actions and standing resolutions are intended to live out the values of The United Methodist Church as it exists in the Oregon-Idaho context. This article is one in a series to highlight legislative items related to social justice and values.

One year ago, the Oregon-Idaho Conference voted to adopt a Standing Resolution supporting the advocacy work done by the General Board of Church and Society supporting civil and human rights for all migrants and refugees that come to the United States. Many congregations have created or expanded their ministries to help migrants and refugees in their own communities, often partnering with other denominations and non-profits.

Nationally, we have seen some improvements. The quotas for immigrants from many countries have increased. And special arrangements were made to accommodate the Afghanistan refugees after US troops were withdrawn.

This is the text of the Standing Resolution passed by the Oregon-Idaho conference in 2022 Download all 2022 legislation, this item is on page 43):

ADVOCATING FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM (2010, revised 2013, 2016, rewritten 2019, 2022) Sponsor: MFSA, Oregon-Idaho Immigration and Refugee Taskforce
We call upon all United Methodist churches in the Oregon-Idaho Conference to engage in the following:

  • Advocate for legislation that will uphold the civil and human rights of all migrants in the United States and will provide an opportunity to attain legal status for all undocumented migrants currently in the United States, as well as for those arriving in the future.
  • Denounce and oppose the rise of xenophobic, racist, and violent reactions against migrants in the United States, and support all efforts to build relationships among people instead of building walls among diverse ethnicities and cultures.
  • Welcome all immigrants into our congregations.
  • Oppose the building of a wall between the United States and Mexico, which the communities of both sides of the border oppose.
These recommendations come from the General Board of Church and Society. They also have a four-step program to become an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation. This program has been shown to revitalize churches and help them find a mission they can truly support. Just go to UMCJustice.org. You can find the welcoming resources by looking under “Civil and Human Rights” and then scrolling down to the link to “Immigration to the US.” 

Help get these ideas off the page and follow God’s call to care for the foreigner among us.
(UM News photo by Mike Duboise)