ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson and
Ralston Deffenbaugh Jr., president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee
Service, issued a March 27 statement appealing for U.S. senators to
amend or reject an immigration bill proposed by the House of
Representatives (see related story, "ELCA members, others lobby Congress for host of causes").
They cited concerns that the House bill would make it a felony to be an undocumented immigrant. It would also make it illegal for churches to provide aid to undocumented immigrants, allowing the government to seize a congregation’s assets.
ELCA leaders also were concerned that the bill “separates families,” “denies a legal path to permanent residence” and “denies fair treatment for farmworkers who provide our daily bread.”
Endorsed by 53 of the ELCA’s 65 synod bishops, the statement frames the issue within the context of several Bible verses: Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Paul’s exhortation in Romans 15:7 and Leviticus 19:33-34.
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