Assembly adopts immigration Statement of Conscience

GA delegates vote

Delegates vote on a proposed amendment to the Statement of Conscience on immigration, which they went on to approve almost unanimously. (© Nancy Pierce)

Delegates to the 2013 General Assembly adopted overwhelmingly a Statement of Conscience regarding “Immigration as a Moral Issue” Friday morning.

The statement, introduced to the delegates by Susan Goekler, chair of the Commission on Social Witness (CSW), has been several years in the making. In 2010, delegates voted that Immigration as a Moral Issue should be the Unitarian Universalist Association’s topic of study for four years.

For the three years since, congregations have been studying the issue and working on immigration projects. Members of the CSW drafted the SOC, with input from congregations at the intervening GAs.

The statement says that, “As a religious people, our Principles call us to acknowledge the immigration experience and to affirm and promote the flourishing of the human family.”

The SOC lays out the history of migration of peoples. And it examines current factors contributing to immigration and lack of documentation, including the search for safety, food, shelter, and better lives.

It examines the consequences of lack of documentation and legal status, including exploitation and denial of civil rights.

The SOC calls on UUs to “affirm that all immigrants, regardless of legal status, should be treated justly and humanely.”

A moral immigration policy will include: a path to legal permanent residency and citizenship; work visas; due process; and preservation of family unity, among other things, the SOC says.

It includes two printed pages of calls to action for UUs. Individuals should educate themselves and advocate for moral immigration practices. Congregations should cooperate with other UU congregations, faith groups, and secular groups for education and action. And the denomination should publically witness against violations of human dignity and rights of immigrants and advocate for moral immigration policies.

Debate lasted for less than an hour, with most of it focusing on amendments that were unincorporated by the CSW. Just one unincorporated amendment passed, adding the word “documented,” to underscore that both documented and undocumented immigrants alike can face similar struggles.

  • Old_Boh

    My amendment (adding “the dumping of United States’s food aid” [when famine threatens] to the causes of immigration) was not adopted; but I wanted to raise awareness on that issue: Few citizens are aware of it, and how our aid (not trade) policy creates Immigration and hunger in developing countries.
    Other wealthy nations typically send money to purchase relief supplies of food locally or regionally.

    The US dumps its American grain surplusses, created and subsidized by our farm bills, and thus puts small farmers (aka peasants) in Africa Asia & LatAm, etc. out of business.
    They leave the land, migrate to the cities, and then maybe to the US.
    Their loss increases their country’s food insecurity/ vulnerablity to famine. This aid policy stems from a partnership between State Dept, Aid agencies, & the US agribusiness Farm lobby(think Monsanto Archer Daniels Midland etc.) .

    Americans need to be more aware of how much our destructive policies help to *create Immigration conflicts.


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