In a recent Action Alert, the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board has called for support of “true comprehensive immigration reform that provides justice and compassion to all people.” The office alerted Brethren to the potential for legislation passed in December by the US House of Representatives to criminalize actions of service to illegal immigrants. The legislation is expected to be considered by the US Senate by the end of March.
The legislation passed by the House, that will be addressed by the Senate soon, is titled, “Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437).” The bill introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI), “aims to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act through enforcement-only legislation,” the office said in its alert. “Among the provisions included are criminalization of service assistance, increased enforcement and penalties, and limitation on legalization of immigrants.”
Church World Service also has issued a statement on the pending legislation, calling on the Senate to “develop compassionate comprehensive immigration reform that will permit faith-based and humanitarian agencies to continue responding to persons in need by offering hospitality and sanctuary, without regard to an individual’s immigration status.”
Said CWS executive director John L. McCullough, “We are sorrowed by the movement of members of Congress now seeking to change current immigration laws in a manner that seriously limit the ability of faith-based and humanitarian organizations to assist people in need. CWS will advise and encourage faith-based organizations and all compassionate individuals to continue to extend the hand of hospitality, welcome, and sanctuary to all in need without questioning their immigration status and without considering pending legislation.”
The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is urging church members to call or write their senators “to support true immigration reform legislation, such as the `Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S. 1033),’” introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
For talking points and more information, go to http://www.brethren.org/genbd/washofc/alert/ComprehensiveImmigration.html.