Office of Government Relations

Episcopal Church Statement on Immigration Reform

February 23, 2024
Office of Government Relations

The Episcopal Church champions and advocates for humane policy towards migrants because of our belief that every human being is a child of God and must be treated with dignity. The Church has advocated for comprehensive immigration reform as an essential part of our call to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Episcopal Migration Ministries, a vital ministry of The Episcopal Church, has helped welcome and resettle more than 105,000 refugees and other migrants. Many dioceses, parishes, and Episcopal networks provide resources, support, and care for asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, refugees, and other migrant communities.  

Despite the advocacy of religious communities and institutions, human rights organizations, the business community, and others, Congress has not enacted meaningful immigration reform since 1986. Attempts at compromise have failed again and again, including in February 2024, while the status quo has become increasingly untenable.  

While some of the proposed policy changes in the recent bipartisan border bill were not in line with the policy positions laid out by General Convention, the Office of Government Relations applauds the sincere effort to address one of the most challenging and politically fraught policy issues during a period of historic polarization in the U.S. Congress 

With different parties controlling the chambers of Congress and the White House, any legislation that has a chance of becoming law will fall short of the comprehensive immigration reform we envision. Legislation emerging from bipartisan negotiations will require challenging compromises. The limits of executive action are clear: ultimately, immigration needs to be addressed by Congress. Good faith bipartisan negotiations in Congress and legislation are required to reform the U.S. immigration system.   

The Office of Government Relations will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, pushing for pathways to citizenship and “full social and economic integration” for people living here without legal status. We will work to preserve the right to asylum, and “treat asylum seekers and migrants with dignity, humanity, and respect, assuring that any restrictions and compliance obligations placed on participants are the least onerous possible.” We will continue to “support the passing of federal legislation that presents a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth and young adults.” We will “endeavor to learn and address root causes of migration and advocate for just solutions with Anglican/Episcopal, ecumenical, and interfaith partners.” We will work towards passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We will advocate for Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure for vulnerable populations and those fleeing “from violence, environmental disaster, economic devastation, or cultural abuse, domestic abuse, or other forms of abuse.” We will, in partnership with Episcopal Migration Ministries, advocate for refugee resettlement, lifting up in particular LGBTQIA2S+ refugees.  

As a Church, we have clearly stated our values and principles. You can explore a comprehensive list of General Convention resolutions on immigration here.   

We ask that you prayerfully consider how best to support our Church’s values and mission to see Christ in all people, and we encourage you to remain engaged, persistent, and strategic, joining together with other Episcopalians as we pursue long term positive change.  

The Office of Government Relations