Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yet more Convention: resolution on immigration and immigrants

Below is the resolution on immigration passed by the Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on Saturday. Amazingly, it passed without a peep. Even at the hearing (we hold separate hearings before the floor debate and vote ) all the interventions were in favor -- just a few friendly amendments. (I was at the hearing and offered a friendly amendment which got incorporated urging that we note not just the "plight" of immigrants but also their "gifts.") Three of our priests, Anne Hodges-Copple, Chantal McKinney (whose mother, Evelyn Morales, is a deacon in our diocese), and Hal Hayek (who is ecumenical and interfaith officer for the diocese and our liaison with the NC Council of Churches), drafted the resolution, but a larger group of lay and ordained people had input. The drafters chose their words very carefully.

There was also a very good preamble but I don't have it in electronic form.

The Hispanic Ministry Committee has sent out to every congregation a packet of Episcopal Church resources (liturgy, preaching, etc.), North Carolina Council of Churches resources, statistics, and concise and easy to understand information on immigration reform from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

A resolution to commit the Diocese of North Carolina to study immigration reform,
encourage local dialogue
and advocate for the protection of undocumented workers.


BE IT RESOLVED that the 192nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina encourages the U.S. government to enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes reasonable pathways to permanent residency; increased legal avenues for workers to enter the United States in a safe and orderly fashion; reunification without undue delay of families separated by migration; effective, proportional and humane enforcement of national borders and immigration policies; the right of due process for immigrants; and policies which address the root causes of migration.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 192nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina believes that 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 does not accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, we encourage the state and local governments of North Carolina to provide for fair treatment and protection of our state's immigrant population.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Convention encourage wide participation by our congregations and institutions in educational events and forums to learn about the plight and gifts of immigrants, to develop relationships with them, to listen to people's experiences of enforcement and its impact on their lives and their families, to learn about the root causes of migration, and to discuss long-term solutions to the immigration crisis.

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