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Border Ministry in the Western Jurisdiction

WHEREAS, there is an unprecedented number of deportations taking place today that dramatically affect the lives of millions of people in the US and Mexico, The United Methodist Church needs to partner with the Methodist Church of Mexico in ministry to these deportees left in the border towns with no resources to relocate to their places of origin. From January 2009 to July of 2011, there had been 1,107,415 deportations [Downloaded September 13, 2011 from <http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/ero-removals.pdf>]. Because the crossing to the US without the proper documentation has become a titanic effort, our neighbors from the south receive a massive number of deportees every week; and

WHEREAS, migrants around the world are forced to leave their homes for economic reasons and foreign policies of developed countries aggravate their already affected economic status, with more than 240 million of them moving around the world continually in search of a better life, and an estimated of 23 percent of the world’s migration arrives in North America; and

WHEREAS, the numbers of deaths of undocumented migrant workers wanting to cross to the US has reached an unprecedented number, with an average of 200 deaths recorded every year in the Arizona desert and between 1995 and 2004 more than 2,640 migrants have died intending to cross the United States and Mexico border, and since 2004 more than one undocumented migrant has died per day in the effort to cross; and

WHEREAS, the number of deportations (from 2009 to July of 2011 deportations equaled 1,107,415: 389,834 in 2009, 392,862 in 2010, and 324,719 in 2011, more than the number of deportations combined in the last ten years) continues to impact both sides of the US and Mexico border as US families are being separated from family members; our neighbors from the southwest receive a massive number of deportees every week, estimating that 1,000 of them wander around the border of Tijuana every day with no help, and the programs trying to address this need are too few to provide help for so many of them; and

WHEREAS, the growing fear of terrorist attacks has mobilized the Department of Homeland Security to make the crossing of the border for undocumented migrant workers a Herculean effort, for there are almost 21,000 border patrol agents at this moment, more than twice as many as there were in 2004, working to stop undocumented migration; as of May of 2011, 17,659 of them stationed along the southwest border with Mexico, which is the contributing factor to the steady decline in the flows of undocumented migration in recent years (the November 2006 annual report made by the Office of Immigration Statistics reported that apprehensions, detentions of foreign nationals has been drastically reduced from 1,291,000 in 2005 [Downloaded September 14, 2011 from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/yearbook/2005/Enforcement_AR_05.pdf] to 517,000 in 2010 [Downloaded September 14, 2011 from http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/enforcement-ar-2010.pdf]) forcing undocumented crossers to walk the Arizona desert where they lose their life; and

WHEREAS, our Methodist tradition based on the Judeo-Christian values reminds us that we are to care for the immigrants by loving them as ourselves and providing for their welfare instead of oppressing them (Leviticus 19:30), just as Jesus modeled for us and identified with them and calls us to provide hospitality to immigrants (Matthew 25:38-40), for he says: “When you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me” (Matthew 25:40); and by doing so we spread scriptural holiness throughout the land and participate in our own salvation; and

WHEREAS, without addressing immigration reform, the crack-down, criminalization, imprisonment, and deportation of productive undocumented migrants, will continue to occur, separation of families, death in the desert, division of communities, and frustration of the future of so many talented Dreamers will continue to take place;

Therefore, the General Conference requests that the Interagency Task Force and specific general agencies named below, having demonstrated deep commitment to and success in addressing immigration issues generally, mobilize and respond to the impacts of deportation outside of the United States and specifically in Mexico including but not limited to the following measures:

1. The Interagency Task Force on Immigration, representing the Council of Bishops, agencies and racial/ethnic caucuses:

a) Include the impact of deportation on the Mexican side of the border by intentionally planning and providing resources to respond to the needs of families that are trapped in the border struggle.

b) Work to challenge the criminalization of migrants by law enforcement agents in Mexico resulting from the bad propaganda originating in the US that only migrants with criminal records are deported.

2. The General Board of Church and Society, the General Commission on Religion and Race, the General Board of Global Ministries, and United Methodist Women:

a) Work with national and international civil rights, human rights, and migrant rights organizations to develop resources and advocacy materials for use in border cities in Mexico that are impacted by the unprecedented number of deportations.

b) Mobilize congregations to support programs outside the US that are responding to the deportation impact.

c) Work in collaboration with CONAM (Comisión Nacional de Asuntos Migratorios) of the Methodist Church of Mexico to educate and advocate for the rights of women, men, and children who face the challenges of adapting to a new way of life as a result of their deportation.

ADOPTED 2012

RESOLUTION #6073, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 165.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.