|United Methodist Leaders Welcome Obama Intentions on Immigration|
Phoenix, Arizona, April 16, 2009-- A group of United Methodist bishops has welcomed a White House announcement that President Barack Obama plans to include immigration law reform on his 2009 political agenda.
To date, 21 active and retired bishops have joined in a statement urging the President to work for comprehensive immigration reform. Six specific goals include a pathway to citizenship for many currently undocumented immigrants and reunification of families divided by the enforcement of current immigration laws.
The statement originated with Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Phoenix, chair of the United Methodist Church's Task Force on Immigration. The task force is an official denominational panel made up of representatives from United Methodist agencies and other church organizations concerned with immigration on a global basis.
The United Methodist Church in 2008 in its legislating assembly, the General Conference, adopted resolutions that promote fair treatment of all immigrants. It also called for reform of existing US immigration legislation.
On the eve of a trip to Latin America, the White House indicated that President Obama plans to address immigration issues later this year. His trip was to include a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and participation in the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
"We join other religious leaders in thanking President Obama for placing immigration reform on his political agenda for 2009," the United Methodist bishops said.
"As United Methodists we believe that immigration is a human rights issue that needs serious attention," they continued. "We stand firmly in believing that the inherent value of all immigrants means that all of their civil liberties should be respected and maintained regardless of their legal status. We believe, however, that our present immigration policies violate these basic rights."
The General Board of Global Ministries is an active participant in the United Methodist Church's Task Force on Immigration, with representatives from multiple units of the international mission organization.
"The General Board of Global Ministries commends and joins with this group of our bishops in advancing the cause of comprehensive immigration reform in the US," said the Rev. Edward W. Paup, general secretary of the agency. "Global Ministries is deeply committed to justice for all immigrants."
The bishop's statement urged the president to work toward the following goals:
As of noon time (EDT), the following bishops had signed the statement and more were expected:
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata
Bishop Jane Allen Middleton
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Bishop Peter D. Weaver
Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr.
Bishop George W. Bashore
Date posted: Apr 16, 2009