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Immigration reform: as Senate acts, MN faith groups make plea

For 11 million undocumented immigrants, the U.S. Senate’s action this week in passing an immigration reform bill is major cause for hope. To be sure, it remains to be seen what the House of Representatives will do. But the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate would grant legal status immediately to undocumented people, many of whom have waited many years for this moment.

As we discussed in last week’s post, Minnesotans are deeply engaged in the debate about the reform bill. In rare alliance that may be akin to the proverbial aligning of stars, business, labor and religious groups have found a remarkable degree of common ground on many of the issues.

In this post, let’s look more closely at what religious groups are saying and doing on behalf of the bill.

This week, a regional coalition of church groups called Transform Minnesota joined forces with the Minnesota Catholic Conference to issue an open letter to the state’s Congressional representatives. In simple terms, the letter calls on those representatives to reform federal law to create a just and compassionate immigration system.

For Christians who look to the Bible for their values, the biblical injunction to “welcome the stranger” is a powerful motivating force in the current debate. That is why many people in the faith community seek some sort of amnesty or earned legalization for undocumented immigrants.

Many people of faith also believe that immigration law should continue to give a high priority to family immigration, particularly family reunification. But that goal may be at odds with the interests of many in the business community of expanding access to work visas.

Source: Star Tribune, “Minn. religious leaders call for immigration reform,” Rose French, June 26, 2013

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