Immigrants make up a significant share of the U.S. population, accounting for just below 14% of the total population. While many immigrants in the U.S. have some form of legal status, an estimated 11 million do not—individuals without legal status are sometimes referred to as undocumented. For many, there is not yet a viable path to adjust status and obtain permanent residency and citizenship.
Legal status affects everything from the ability to obtain a driver’s license to access for federal means-tested public benefits, diminishing the opportunity for individuals to live into their God-given dignity and potential. While recognizing the rule of law, the ELCA social message “Immigration” urges “leaders and citizens to seek flexible and humane ways for undocumented persons who have been in this country for a specified amount of time to be able to adjust their legal status."
President Biden has called on Congress to enact a sweeping immigration bill that would, among many other things, establish a path for eligible undocumented people to adjust their status and apply for citizenship within a few years. Immigration reform is a priority for Congress this year since the House and Senate are each expected to consider a variety of immigration bills in the coming months. This leaves an unmistakable opportunity to affect policy changes to our nation’s immigration laws.Policy must reflect life’s realities.
“As we journey together through the time God has given us, may God give us the grace of a welcoming heart and an overflowing love for the new neighbors among us” (ELCA social message on “Immigration”).Tell Congress: Pass legislation to modernize and humanize our nation’s immigration system, including creating an earned pathway to citizenship. Use your words and experiences to customize the following message.
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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