From the ELCA
• Called To Be a Public Church: 2008 ELCA Voting and Civic Participation Guide: "It is my hope that this guide" — which includes nonpartisan briefs on current issues, plus tips for electoral activities — "will be a useful tool as you and your congregation wrestle with faithful responses to difficult issues in this election cycle and those to come," said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.
• ELCA Message on Immigration: Written in 1998, with an update to be presented to the ELCA Church Council by the end of 2008, this message represents the official ELCA position on the issue, based on biblical teachings. It is designed to encourage reflection and discussion.
• A Faithful Response: A Study for Churches on Welcoming the Stranger: This four-week study curriculum from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is designed to help adults and older teens understand an immigrant's experience.
• Locking up Family Values: LIRS teamed with the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children to examine conditions in two federal detention centers where immigrant families are in custody.
From other groups
• Center for Immigration Studies: This Washington, D.C., think tank, which "seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted" and opposes illegal immigration, offers a variety of publications.
• Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: An August 2007 report from the Office of Immigration Studies, part of the Department of Homeland Security, gives federal data and definitions about unauthorized residents.
• Immigration and America's Future: A New Chapter: The Migration Policy Institute convened a nonpartisan task force headed by former U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton to analyze economic, social and demographic factors of today's illegal and legal immigration; this September 2006 book offers the group's findings and suggestions for an system overhaul.
• Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children: Large-scale work-site raids have increased; this is a study by the National Council of La Raza and the nonpartisan Urban Institute from October 2007 of three communities where raids had occurred and details their impact on children.
• For You Were Once a Stranger: Interfaith Worker Justice is a "network of people of faith ... that helps give voice to low-wage workers." This 2007 handbook is a study guide of research, suggestions for policy and faith perspectives on immigration.
New York City has been a haven for immigrants for centuries, a fact manifest in the Metropolitan New York Synod: Twenty-three languages are spoken on any given Sunday among its 217 congregations in the five boroughs, Long Island and seven counties to the north. “Even some of those congregations founded 200 years ago still have the mother tongue for worship because we continue to have people crossing borders or planes arriving,” said Gary E. Mills, executive assistant to the bishop.
But the area that has received millions upon millions of the “tired and poor” from around the world has in recent times been both derided and praised as a city of sanctuary.
Last November, Americans watched as the idea was debated between Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Romney opposed what he called Giuliani’s welcome of undocumented immigrants when he was mayor.
|When Joe Chen (right) goes to court fordeportation hearings, he often isaccompanied by David H. Rommereim, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y.|
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