ELCA Bishops, Advocates Urge Congress to Protect Refugees, Migrants

At the end of March, over 100 Lutheran leaders, including Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, met with congressional offices in Washington, D.C. to urge their members of Congress to protect and welcome vulnerable refugees and migrant children fleeing the endemic violence and persecution in their communities. Add your voice to theirs by taking action here.

“It was an honor to speak in support of neighbors, family and Church members who have come to the United States from other countries,” said the Rev. Linda Theophilus, pastor in the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod and longtime advocate for immigrants and refugees.  “These years, like the years after World War II, are a time for bold welcome from our government and our congregations to all who run from violence and persecution.”

“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers” – Deuteronomy 10:19, NRSV

As Lutherans, we heed the Bible when it tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, whether our neighbor lives in our community or across the world. Our faith has compelled us to help resettled refugees since 1939, more than 40 years before the U.S. government created the refugee resettlement program. Today, we continue to do ministry with the most vulnerable, whether they arrived through our refugee program or came to our southern border to seek safety. We know that migrants and refugees strengthen our congregations, our communities, and our nation.

As Congress considers funding for programs that affect vulnerable people, we must join our voices in urging them to protect the most vulnerable among us by continuing to fund the refugee resettlement program, protect Central American children and their families who seek safety in the U.S., and invest in faithful solutions that address the root causes of migration.

Prior to the congressional visits, advocates spent two days together, learning, preparing and sharing their stories.

“We all have stories, whether our lives have been touched by immigrants and refugees, or if we, ourselves, have known what it is to flee for safety,” said LAMPa director Tracey DePasquale. “And we know we encounter Jesus in the families at our door.”

Inform your advocacy with these resources:

ELCA Social Statement on Immigration.

“Betraying Family Values: How Immigration Policy at the United States border is Separating Families.”(LIRS report on practice and effects of separating migrant families at the border, coauthored with Kids in Need of Defense and Women’s Refugee Commission; March 2017).

Report stemming from the church’s accompaniment with partners in Central America — Our Communities in Crisis: A faithful look at the root causes of Central American forced displacement and the repatriation of children and families after the summer of 2014.

Overview of Refugee Resettlement System.

U.S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings and Number of Refugees Admitted, 1980-Present, Migration Policy Institute.

Steps in Security Vetting for Refugees.

Learn more about addressing forced migration from Central America through advocacy.



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