Office of Government Relations

Summary: Episcopal Church Policy on Immigration and Refugee Issues

February 11, 2013
Office of Government Relations

Updated with 2018 General Convention resolutions.

Endorse Fair Immigration Policy

  • Urge all governments to keep their commitments and legal obligations to respect the rights and dignity of all people, including access to justice and social services, while recognizing the complexity of developing just immigration policies in any country, and the legitimate need to protect borders and address security threats to sovereign nations (GC ’18)
  • Support U.S. executive policies that deemphasize immigrant enforcement action against those who have not committed felony crimes (GC ’18)
  • Urge for a halt to the implementation and intensification of inhumane and unjust immigration policies and practices such as detaining and separating children from parents, ignoring the reproductive health needs of women and girls in detention centers and converting military bases to immigration detention centers for children (GC ’18)
  • Provide access to physical and mental health care to all in immigration detention, including to the full range of reproductive health care and sanitary products for women and girls (GC ’18)
  • Advocate through education, communication, and representation before legislative authorities the continuation of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for all persons fleeing to or currently resident in the US seeking refuge from violence, environmental disaster, economic devastation, or cultural abuse, domestic abuse, or other forms of abuse (GC ’18)
  • Support automatic grant of citizenship by the country in which a person is born (“birthright citizenship”). (GC ’15)
  • Urge the administration to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Guatemalans living in the U.S. and to all immigrants fleeing from violence, environmental disaster, economic devastation, cultural abuse, or other forms of abuse. (GC ’15)
  • Acknowledge continued violence against and displacement of citizens in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Call upon The Episcopal Church to support efforts of civil society groups and regional bodies, especially the work 13 of our sister Anglican province La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (IARCA), the Diocese of Honduras, and human rights organizations, that seek to address these issues. Call for an immediate end to the inhumane practice of family detention. Call for a robust, holistic, regional humanitarian response from the U.S. government and its allies that addresses the root causes of violence in the region. (GC ’15)
  • Support expanded immigration relief for youth and parents designed to keep families together. (GC ’15)
  • Condemn the ruling of the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court, which ruled ineligible for citizenship any children born of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. Advocate to U.S. government and the United Nations on this issue. (GC ’15)
  • Call upon The Episcopal Church to recommit to the spirit of the New Sanctuary Movement so congregations can assist immigrant individuals, unaccompanied minors, families, and communities in the absence of comprehensive, humane immigration reform. (GC ’15)
  • Deplore the unprecedented levels of detention and deportation carried out by the U.S. government against individuals who pose no threat to society. (EC 6/14)
  • Urge that when deportations do occur, individuals are repatriated in a safe and humane manner. (EC 6/14)
  • Urge that the U.S. government employ humane and family-centric detention practices. (EC 6/14)
  • Declare solidarity with Dominicans of Haitian descent who have been essentially made stateless by the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court. Stimulate awareness of these stateless Dominicans among members of the Church. (EC 2/14)
  • Urge Congress to enact legislation that permits same-gender domestic partners and spouses of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to seek lawful permanent status in the same manner as different gender couples (GC ’12)
  • Decry the use of racial profiling as a reason to question an individual’s immigration status and call for the immediate end to the Secure Communities program which leads to lengthy detention of immigrants who have no serious charges against them and discourages victims of crimes, such as domestic abuse, from reporting those crimes (GC ’12)
  • Support federal legislation that presents a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth and young adults while assisting undocumented youth, known as “DREAMers” in accessing higher education (GC ’12)
  • Urge the US Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform to give undocumented persons who have established roots in the United States a pathway to legalization and full social and economic integration into the United States. (GC ’09)
  • Urge the US government to terminate any program that allows or funds local law enforcement agencies enforcement of immigration law, thereby allowing immigrant victims of crime to report it without fear of deportation.  (GC ’09)
  • Urge the US government to establish a moratorium on roadside checkpoints and raids carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that tear families apart.  (GC 09)
  • Urge the US government to ensure that undocumented immigrant detainees are provided with humane treatment, adequate food and medical care and sanitary conditions.  (GC 09)
  • Urge the US government to consider alternatives to a costly prison-like detention system for immigrants.  (GC ’09)
  • Urge the US government to allow undocumented youth who arrive as infants or children to pursue higher education and/or serve in the military in order to contribute to their communities and become citizens.  (GC ’09)
  • Urge Congress to provide immigration equality for same-sex couples by permitting a citizen or permanent resident alien to sponsor an immigrant partner for permanent residence in the United States.  (GC ’09)
  • Adopt fundamental principles of the basic rights of undocumented persons and undertake a campaign to educate Episcopalians on the plight of refugees, immigrants and migrants.  (GC ’06)
  • Declare strong opposition to any legislation that would make it unlawful for faith based or humanitarian organizations to act to relieve the suffering of undocumented immigrants in response to the Gospel mandate to serve the least among us and our Baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons and calls upon the people of the Episcopal Church to act on their baptismal covenant without regard to such unjust legislation.  (EC 3/06)
  • Express concern for serious flaws in US immigration policy and support enactment of legislation that would remedy these flaws.  (EC 6/05)
  • Oppose unfair and unjust treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, and that the whole Church at every level collaborate with other faith bodies, communions, and immigrant rights and human rights organizations to redress these concerns. (EC 4/03)
  • Urge Congress to enact legislation to expand the temporary workers’ programs to include all persons in the US in meaningful labor, as well as overseas workers offered employment in the US (GC ’03)
  • Urge US government to ensure that needy immigrants are not unfairly denied essential services and benefits. (GC ’97)
  • Urge the US government to ensure that needy immigrants are not unfairly denied essential services and benefits.  (GC ’97)
  • Oppose any policy that encourages school or other public officials to report individuals that they suspect are illegal immigrants (EC 2/95)
  • Support a welfare system that does not discriminate on the basis of marital status, age, legal immigrant status or ability to identify other parent.  (EC 2/95)
  • Condemn widespread racist and unjust treatment of immigrants in political discourse and direct provinces and dioceses to develop programs to counteract violations of civil rights.  (GC ’94)
  • Call the US Congress to enact immigration legislation that recognizes the human realities of undocumented people in this country and that provides asylum for those fleeing political repression.  (GC ’85)

Endorse Fair Refugee Policy

  • Urge governments to expand refugee resettlement as a humanitarian response that offers individuals safety and opportunity; Insist that the United States of America and all other nations to the best of their ability, contribute to resettlementestablish and maintain safe and orderly humanitarian protection for refugees, internally displaced persons, and other migrants seeking long-term solutions and safety (GC ’18)
  • We recognize that displacement due to climate change already happens and will increase, and we insist that our governments and the international community must commit to development of long-term protection solutions for persons displaced by climate change (GC ’18)
  • In the event that people are forced to migrate, we insist that our governments address the drivers holistically, without racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental ability, health status, or religious prejudice (GC ’18)
  • Call upon The Episcopal Church to advocate for the protection of refugees, conflict resolution, and sustainable development in South Sudan and Sudan. (GC ’15)
  • Encourage Episcopalians to pray for peace in the Middle East, for an end to the humanitarian and refugee crisis in Syria, and for the continued witness and presence of Christian communities there. (GC ’15)
  • Urge the United States Congress to reform the Refugee Act of 1980 in order to modernize the nation’s refugee program, including modernizations such as but not limited to meeting the urgent needs of a diverse refugee population through specialized and extended case management, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services, recertification assistance for refugees with a professional background, restoration of federal benefits from 8 months to at least one year, housing and transportation assistance, and other innovative policies that create sustainable integration pathways for refugees (GC ’12)
  • To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1961 UN Convection on the Reduction of Statelessness, urge the U.S Government and international community to work to end discriminatory practices that leave women and children vulnerable to statelessness, including efforts to ensure equality between women and men in nationality laws and access to documentation, the promotion of birth registration, and greater efforts in the identification stateless persons so that their needs may be addressed (GC ’12)
  • Urge the US to commence a program of resettlement for refugees who cannot return to Colombia because their lives are in danger or they cannot integrate or remain in Ecuador. (EC 2/10)
  • Advocate that the US Government take certain actions to address the severe humanitarian crisis of refugees and others being displaced by the ongoing violence resulting from the war in Iraq.  (EC 3/07)
  • Oppose the overly broad interpretation of the “material support” provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which allows for the refusal of admission into the US to certain refugees, and recommend an interpretation of these provisions that pertains only to formally designated foreign terrorist organizations and does not apply to those who have resisted regimes which denied them basic human rights or those who, under duress, unwittingly associate with a terrorist organization.  (EC 11/06)
  • Urge continued advocacy on the provision of Temporary Protected Status to Haitians residing in the US who are in danger of deportation to Haiti.  (EC 6/05)
  • Urge the US government to extend the protection of asylum to vulnerable peoples, especially women fleeing mutilation or cultural practices that deny their full humanity.  (EC 2/04)
  • Reaffirm the historic commitment of the Episcopal Church to the protection of refugees and asylum seeker.  (2/04)
  • Promote policy that Liberians temporarily in the US be granted protected status until circumstances permit their safe return. (GC ’03)
  • Call upon the President of the United States to declare the situation in Haiti to be of “special humanitarian concern” to the United States of America, to adopt a humanitarian method to expedite the immigration of Haitians to the United States, and to accelerate the procedure for admitting Haitian refugees by extending the number of processing centers in Haiti into rural areas where they would be accessible to bona fide applicants for asylum.  (EC 2/93)
  • Advocate a generous program of refugee admissions. (GC ’97)
  • Support the right of women fleeing female genital mutilation to be granted refugee status and asylum in the US. (GC ’97)
  • Advocate a just system of asylum for persecuted persons. (GC ’97)
  • Urge the US government to apply its refugee policies in a uniform and equitable manner without regard to the nationality, race or creed of those seeking refugee status.  (GC ’94)
  • Encourages the US administration to grant permanent residency status to all Salvadorans who are now covered under temporary status.  (GC ’94)
  • Call upon the UN to pressure the governments of Iraq and Kuwait to release financial assets of Palestinians and refugees of the Gulf crisis.  (GC ’91)
  • Urge assistance and ministry to Hong Kong refugee camps and calls the governments of the U.S. and Great Britain to reconsider their policy.  (GC ’88)
  • Support redress for wartime relocation of civilians. (GC ’85)
  • Reaffirm the call for the US to offer safe haven to Central Americans seeking temporary refuge in our nation from civil strife in their home countries.  (GC ’85)
  • Commend efforts to resettle refugees and encourages Episcopalians to accept refugees in their communities. It urges fair treatment of Salvadoran and Haitian refugees and permanent status for political and economic refugees.  (GC ’82)

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