Endorses Immigration Reform
MINNEAPOLIS (ELCA) -- Voting members at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Aug. 19, to urge reform in the nation’s current immigration policy. By a vote of 870 to 67, voters agreed to urge comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policies and processes, and to call for suspension of immigration raids until such reform is enacted. The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 17-23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,045 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is “God’s work. Our hands.” Former director of Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Rallie Deffenbaugh, told voters that the nation’s immigration system is broken. He argued championing reform “is just and welcomes the newcomers among us.” Jennifer DeLeon, a voting member from the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod, declared, “We are an undocumented church. We have congregations and pastors who cannot serve their members because they are being harassed by the federal immigration service.” Voting members also approved, all by wide margins, memorials (resolutions brought from individuals and synods) that would advocate for justice for women; encourage providing worship and education materials for blind and visually impaired church members; and enable recruitment of people of color as clergy candidates.