Loving Thy Neighbor

September 22, 2009

Author: Sam Fulwood III

Source: Center for American Progress


As a fresh immigration reform debate gears up in Washington, D.C., a wide range of faith groups are showing a new, unexpected, and grassroots-led social activism that’s rooted in theological and moral ground. While loud and shrill anti-immigrant voices dominate much of the media attention regarding immigrants and especially the undocumented, faith community activists are caring and praying in the shadows of public attention.

These groups have worked for many years and across the country on immigration issues and as strong advocates for undocumented workers and their families. Their efforts include creating citizenship projects, offering educational and support services, fighting discrimination and exploitation, bridging gaps between immigrant and nonimmigrant communities, providing sanctuary for immigrant families, supporting comprehensive legislative reform, and more.

Hundreds of diverse faith communities have been active independently and within larger organizations. Mainline Protestant denominations, Catholic parishes, Jewish congregations, and others, along with groups such as PICO, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Sojourners, Catholic Social Services, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Families United, and Gamaliel have stood up and spoken out on behalf of immigrants and their families.

But lately, these efforts are gaining new energy and spreading around the country as people of faith are championing the cause of immigration reform. This is an important development because it heralds a sweeping grassroots movement that will support political leaders in Washington who join their cause.