What does the UMC say about immigration reform?

This is a view of the border fence in El Faro Park in Tijuana, Mexico, after the arrival of the first members of the migrant caravan. Photo courtesy of Rubén Velarde de la Congregación Nuevo Pacto de Playas de Tijuana.
This is a view of the border fence in El Faro Park in Tijuana, Mexico, after the arrival of the first members of the migrant caravan. Photo courtesy of Rubén Velarde de la Congregación Nuevo Pacto de Playas de Tijuana.

Global migration is a phenomenon impacting countries around the world at historic highs. Anti-immigrant rhetoric, attitudes, and actions are turning communities into places of inhospitality and exclusion on local and national levels.

The United Methodist Church upholds practicing hospitality to immigrants, refugees, and asylees without regard to race, status, nationality, or religion. We affirm that all people, regardless of country of origin, are members of the family of God

United Methodists understand that "at the center of Christian faithfulness to Scripture is the call we have been given to love and welcome the sojourner. We call upon all United Methodist churches to welcome newly arriving migrants in their communities, to love them as we do ourselves, to treat them as one of our native-born, to see in them the presence of the incarnated Jesus, and to show hospitality to the migrants in our midst, believing that through their presence we are receiving the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

United Methodists focus on three priorities in immigration: welcoming the stranger, human rights and keeping families together. 

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The United Methodist Church calls for an end to family separation, indefinite detention and the incarceration of children. We resolve to work to eliminate racism and violence directed towards migrants.

We understand that "all nations have the right to secure their borders, but the primary concern for Christians should be the welfare of immigrants." “Christians do not approach the issue of migration from the perspective of tribe or nation, but from within a faith community of love and welcome, a community that teaches and expects hospitality to the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed.” 

The church advocates for the comprehensive reform of the US immigration system.  We support legislation to make immigration, refugee and asylum processes just and efficient.

"Any legislation to reform the US immigration system must affirm the worth, dignity, and inherent value and rights of migrants, and must also include:

• an opportunity for citizenship for all undocumented migrants. Any pathway created for undocumented migrants should have minimal obstacles, and those requirements should not be designed to preclude migrants from eligibility for legalization;
• clearing the backlogs and reunifying families separated by migration or detainment;
• an increase in the number of visas for short-term workers to come into the United States to work in a safe, legal, and orderly way. Opportunities for legalization should be available for those who wish to remain permanently;
• the protection of all workers who come to stay for a certain period of time as well as for those who stay permanently. The right to bargain for higher wages, to protest against poor working conditions, and to preserve their human rights should be maintained by all workers, documented and undocumented alike;
• elimination of for-profit detention centers;
• elimination of indefinite detention, incarceration of children, and the expanding prison population, which also benefits privately owned detention centers and prisons;
• preservation of due process and access to courts and to adequate legal representation for all migrants regardless of legal status."

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This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.