ELCA Conference of Bishops Statement on Immigration

On the eve of the President's Speech on Immigration, the ELCA Bishops release this statement.


Immigration 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

of birth.

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