Over the course of many decades the U.S. economy has unofficially welcomed and depended upon millions of immigrants to assist in its prosperous growth. Concurrently, there have been woefully inadequate paths to legal documentation or citizenship for these persons. A brief summary of the present situation assessed by The Pew Research Center finds 8 million undocumented workers girding up large portions of the US infrastructure (notably, 25% of our agricultural industry, 15% of the construction trades). Two thirds of these workers have lived in the US for more than 10 years. They teach our children, roof our houses, and dig the ditches for our high speed internet cables. Few industries are untouched by immigrant workers. Additionally, they have established families and become integral to the communities we share. They are our neighbors, co-workers, spouses, and friends. They are productive, and hard working. They pay taxes.
In our current political climate, a troubling surge of hate speech, hate crimes and racism has been unleashed against people who came here due to war, terror, political persecution, extreme poverty, and other expressions of violence. US immigrant communities are living in fear caused by the termination of life-saving policies such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They are also endangered due to racial profiling, raids and arbitrary deportations. These extreme actions separate families and are instilling acute fear and anxiety throughout our communities.
As people of conscience, we stand against these unjust policies that needlessly harm and cruelly separate families, neighbors and friends. We believe that our calling is to welcome immigrants, offering them hospitality and justice. We stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people who are living in our state peaceably and productively and are now threatened by these inhumane actions.
We believe that this moment of crisis provides an opportunity for local governments, schools, health centers, and faith communities to dedicate themselves to building a “beloved community” that assures justice for all. We, the undersigned congregations, organizations and individuals, pledge to work as the North Carolina Sanctuary Coalition. As such we pledge our time, energy, and resources to support immigrants in our communities by offering physical sanctuary, emotional support, and persistent advocacy until we achieve comprehensive immigration reform and justice for all.
Sign On Now
As people of faith and conscience from across North Carolina, we believe that our calling is to welcome immigrants, offering them hospitality and justice. While we recognize that immigration policy is a complex issue that divides people of goodwill, our faiths compel us to stand with immigrants in their struggle for justice. We confess that, all too often, we have remained silent.
We remember the words of Moses when he said, “Do not mistreat foreigners living in your land, but treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you were foreigners one time in Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
We remember the words of Jesus when he said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35).
We remember the words of the Qur’an when it says, “Do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer…” (An-Nisa 4:36).
As people of faith, we stand today in a long tradition of those who have been faithful in providing hospitality for those in need and in seeking justice for the oppressed.
It is crucial that people of faith respond to the immigration crisis by offering advocacy and welcome in the face of rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Religious communities find in our scriptures traditions which call us to welcome the stranger, promote hospitality, and seek justice. People of faith should call for legislative reforms which are fair, humane, and address the root causes of why people migrate.
Since nearly all citizens in the United States today are descended from people from other nations, we are called to offer support to newer immigrants who contribute to our economy and culture but who suffer discrimination, abuse, and hardship as a result of their status as immigrants.
We deplore any governmental action which unduly emphasizes enforcement as the primary response to immigrants entering this country or which criminalizes persons providing humanitarian assistance to migrants. We encourage the state and local governments of North Carolina to provide for fair treatment and protection of our state’s immigrant population, including access to education and mobility. In addition, we are troubled and grieved by the separation of families and other forms of suffering that continue to take place as a result of immigration raids.
We recognize that immigration policy is complex and multi-faceted, but we agree that all immigrants are made in God’s image and that our religious traditions demand that we care especially for the stranger. We call on all people of faith to stand with immigrants as a matter of religious responsibility, to advocate for their well-being and protection, and to educate our local communities about issues affecting immigrant peoples.