Immigration Policy Reform
- 2017 UULMNJ Resolution to Support Fair and Welcoming Policies
UU LEGISLATIVE MINISTRY OF NJ RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT FAIR AND WELCOMING POLICIES TOWARD IMMIGRANTS
Adopted by Immigration Reform Task Force members and endorsed by the Board of Trustees of the UULMNJ March/April 2017
Whereas our Unitarian Universalist principles include a respect for the worth and dignity of every human being, as well as justice and compassion in human relations and the goal of building a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and,
Whereas our Unitarian Universalist sources include “words and deeds of prophetic men and women which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;” and,
Whereas in 2013 the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly approved a Statement of Conscience, Immigration as a Moral Issue, that “compels us to affirm that all immigrants, regardless of legal status, should be treated justly and humanely;” and,
Whereas that statement lists certain minimum standards for a such a moral immigration policy, including a path to legal residency and citizenship, improved work visas, equal access to medical care and education, due process including legal representation, and more; and,
Whereas in 2014 undocumented immigrants made up almost 6% of New Jersey’s population and the new federal immigration law-enforcement policies have increased the level of fear in these communities; and acknowledging that all residents of these United States—except for those who are members of indigenous tribal nations or who are descended from persons who were brought here in slavery—are themselves immigrants or descended from immigrants, not all of whom necessarily followed the letter of the law when they arrived; and,
WHEREAS our intention is to ensure that New Jersey is and remains a Sanctuary/fair and welcoming state, at least within our Unitarian Universalist communities;
THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED that, with that intention as our goal, each and every UU congregation, fellowship, and society in New Jersey has taken or is preparing to take some action to support our immigrant neighbors, including one or more of the following actions:
- We will enter into partnership or collaboration with a community group of immigrants and their friends and neighbors.
- We will assist the sanctuary movement, whether a congregation itself serves as a sanctuary for persons who would otherwise be deported, assists a religious organization of any faith that is serving as a sanctuary, or acts in any other appropriate manner in solidarity with our neighbors.
- We will be active in efforts to improve our nation’s immigration policies, which surely need to be reformed to embody a more humane and caring approach to our neighbors.
- We will be ready to provide assistance whenever possible to those who fear oppression due to their immigration status, recognizing that we are in a changing environment in which enforcement policies and activities are changing unpredictably, while we wish to hold up a steady and reliable moral principle.
- Immigration Reform Statement
Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to recognize that no one is “the stranger,” to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and to support the use of justice for all people.–— UUA’s Welcoming Our Neighbors
Immigration – legal and illegal. It is a hot topic in NJ today; but sound bites, ideology, fear-driven responses and violent rhetoric obscure the real conversations that need to happen. What does it mean for us, as Unitarian Universalists, to respond to this complex and emotional issue? What resources are available? How do we even begin, and how can we help here in New Jersey?
As Unitarian Universalists, we have a long history of supporting civil rights, and this includes the rights of immigrants. We have committed to a national campaign called “Standing on the Side of Love”, a campaign focused on telling the stories of individuals and families who have been denied equal rights in our country. We hope that people of all faiths and ethnicities can agree that it is better to act out of love and respect for our common humanity, rather than be guided by voices of fear and hate. We are here to lift up the voices of those who support the worth and dignity of all people, and to encourage public policy which reflects our commitment to justice and equity.
- Task Force Activity
The Task Force was organized in 2009. In 2010 we started to focus on educating ourselves. We agreed that many Unitarian Universalists were unsure about immigration policy. It was extremely complex, and even well educated progressive persons were not sure how they felt about many proposals. Issues of economics and law enforcement and rights of native workers all became muddled with progressives’ clear concerns about human rights and dignity.
The Immigration Reform Task Force decided to develop several offerings, especially workshops and worship services, to grow awareness and concern about immigration issue. Since we adopted this focus many New Jersey UU congregations have asked for and received significant assistance with this programming, making strong efforts to involve many people, with regular Sunday worship services or with a focus over several months with several workshops, rather than a program that attracts just the already-committed attendees. We are continuing to offer this help.
The Immigration Reform Task Force is also looking at other issues around which to develop workshops and other educational materials, as well as public policy issues with which to become involved.
- Task Force Contact
For more information or to get involved with the work of this Task Force contact the Task Force Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Task Force Annual Report
- Policy Brief
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