On the eve of the President's Speech on Immigration, the ELCA Bishops release this statement.
November 20, 2014
Conference of Bishops
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
As people of faith and leaders of the church, we support public policy that protects
children, reunites families, and cares for the most vulnerable, regardless of their place
The treatment of immigrants is a core religious value. To welcome the stranger is to
welcome a child of God. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to welcome the stranger,
for "just as you did it to one of the least of these... you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
Each day in our congregations and in our service to the community, we see the
consequences of this broken immigration system: separated families, children returning
home to find their parents have been deported, and the exploitation of undocumented
By removing the threat of deportation for many people, we are showing compassion for
people who have been here for years, working hard to provide for their families, obeying
the law, and contributing to the fabric of our community.
While today’s action addresses a pressing need, it does not provide a path to
citizenship, establish policies that prioritize family unity, or create more efficient
channels for entry of new migrant workers. Our hope is that congress will address these
and related issues, including the practice of family detention, which undermines our
values as a people of faith and a nation of welcome.
The Scriptures consistently show a significant concern for immigrants:
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner
residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you
were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
The positive role of immigrants in our history, economy and our community is
unmistakable. We support this compassionate first step toward reforming an
immigration system that is flawed and requires many of our neighbors to live in the
shadows in fear.
The ELCA Conference of Bishops