The Presbyterian Church started advocating for just immigration practices after WWII
Today is Immigration Sunday. PC(USA) advocates for Just Immigration. Let us remember those who have been displaced and are forced to immigrate to a safer place.
The Presbyterian General Assemblies began to speak out on immigration and refugee issues when the aftermath of World War II and the partitioning of Europe displaced millions of people. This led to the 1953 PC(USA) Assembly to call for a comprehensive review of the nation’s immigration policies. In 1954 the PC(USA) Assembly called for legislation to provide for needs of migrant workers who had lived and worked in the United States throughout the war, often replacing workers who were fighting and therefore unable to farm or work in manufacturing.
In subsequent years the Assemblies spoke to the problems of refugees arriving in the US from all over the world. The 1980 UPCUSA and 1982 PCUS Assemblies issued general statements on the world refugee situation and expressed support for actions in what was called the “sanctuary movement”, when thousands of Central American refugees poured into the United States fleeing from repression and human rights violations. Mexican migration continued to go unaddressed by the government and in 1981 a PC(USA) joint statement with PCUS stated “Mexican immigrants reveal again our divided mind about immigration. They are told they are needed and at the same time that they are not wanted. They are regarded both as burden and benefit. Political and
geographical boundaries are in and of themselves part of the human social existence… However, the only boundaries Christians recognize ultimately are those established by justice and love.”
The 206th PC(USA) General Assembly (1994) adopted the “Call to Presbyterians to Recommit to Work and Pray for a Just and Compassionate U.S. Immigration Policy” Again, in 1999 and 2004 Presbyterians, through General Assembly actions, guided by theological and ethical principals, continued to call for a commitment from both Presbyterians and the government to work toward welcoming immigrants into our communities and providing just laws that effect those who live and work in the United States. The need for immigration reform continues today. In 2006, the PC(USA) General Assembly again echoed what has been expressed for the last 50 years.
To read the latest Presbyterian immigration policy statement go to 2006 Resolution at