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Monday, May 19, 2008

Oregon Church Conference Oppose Anti-immigrant Initiatives

from Rev. Chuck Currie

This weekend the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ took action by putting our conference on record opposing to two anti-immigrant ballots measures Oregon voters will consider this fall. Any sacred conversation on race needs to include our national response to the struggles of Hispanic people.

RESOLUTION for Central Pacific Conference Annual Assembly


Signed by: Catherine Rolling, Ainsworth; Rev. Susan Leo, Bridgeport; Rev. Chuck Currie, Parkrose

Our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. We, as people of faith, want an opportunity to support proposals that include legalization with a
path to citizenship and family unification. However, legislative proposals making their way to the November 2008 ballot in Oregon will further divide our communities and increase hate, fear, and racism, thus contributing to anti-immigrant sentiment, by
attacking an already vulnerable people, known by people of faith as children of the Creator.

Whereas: Oregon ballot initiative petition (IP) #19 proposes to add a section to the Oregon Revised Statutes requiring English immersion in public schools as proposed by Bill Sizemore and Alan Grosso and filed in the Secretary of State’s office on April
18, 2006:

• prohibits teaching public school students in languages other than English for more than two years.

• would have a severe impact on immigrant children's opportunities for quality education.

• would take away local control and classroom decisions about individual learning levels and special needs of students, thereby punishing immigrant and refugee children, regardless of their legal status, and

Whereas: Oregon ballot initiative petition (IP) #112 named “Respect for Law Act” proposed by Mehran Smith and Shahriyar Smith of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and filed in the Secretary of State’s office on July 10, 2007:

• effectively forces undocumented immigrants further into the shadows.

• diverts local government resources away from community safety, health and education needs.

• moves police, fire fighters, teachers, social workers, and health care workers
to act as immigration officers.

• encourages racial profiling, unreported crime, school dropouts, and public health and safety calamities.

• imperils public safety by restricting driver’s licenses forcing immigrants who must drive to maintain their employment and care for their households to continue driving as unlicensed motorists.

• offers new voter registration restrictions which are unnecessary since there is no evidence that non-citizens are voting—and discourages registration by other marginalized populations, such as low-income, elderly and people of color, and

Whereas: These measures are an affront to the dignity, safety, livelihoods, and opportunities of our immigrant neighbors, and

Whereas: Jesus instructs us to welcome strangers - not mistreat them, and

Whereas: As Christians, our actions should reflect Jesus’ teachings, and

Whereas: As a nation of immigrants, our laws should reflect compassionate action toward those who come into our country for safety and opportunity;

Be it resolved: that the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ declares its opposition to Oregon ballot initiative petitions #19 and #112 and calls on local UCC affiliates and other faith communities to do the same.

Read more at Rev. Currie's blog


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