D009 Christian Principles for Responding to Human Migration

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognize that human migration has always been part of the human condition, and that human migration will continue in future, and will likely increase due to any number of variables including the effects of climate change on human habitat, economic instability, or ongoing war and conflict, and remembering the call in both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures to welcome the stranger, building stronger and more diverse community: “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19) and “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me; …. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25: 35, 40); and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention set forth these principles to guide our church’s response to human migration, including internal migration, in the future:

1. We recognize the fundamental human rights of all people as expressed in our Baptismal Covenant and we reaffirm that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all refugees and both regular and irregular migrants;

2. We remember that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were refugees, as they were forced to flee into a foreign land to escape violence;

3. We call on all governments to keep their commitments and legal obligations to respect the rights and dignity of all people, including access to justice and social services, while recognizing the complexity of developing just immigration policies in any country, and the legitimate need to protect borders and address security threats to sovereign nations;

4. We commit the church to learning and engaging migration issues as part of the Jesus Movement, sacredly holding the voices and leadership of migrants themselves and honoring their leadership in this process;

5. We will endeavor to learn and address root causes of migration and advocate for just solutions with Anglican/Episcopal, ecumenical, and interfaith partners;

6. We acknowledge the connection between U.S. policies, and the policies of other states, and the root drivers of migration, including climate change, armed conflict, and disruption of local economies through global trade policies;

7. We stress the importance of demonstrating hospitality and welcome as Christian values at the local level, preaching hospitality and positive storytelling to overcome xenophobia;

8. We insist that the United States of America and other powerful, wealthy nations, and all nations to the best of their ability, contribute to resettlement, establish and maintain safe and orderly humanitarian protection for refugees, internally displaced persons, and other migrants seeking long-term solutions and safety;

9. We call on all nations to maintain family unity and safety during migration;

10. We insist that economic and foreign relationships among governments should not increase the need of migration due to economic hardships, persecution, and violence;

11. We insist that governments strive to maintain conditions which are conducive to internal stability and employment opportunity;

12. In the event that people are forced to migrate, we insist that our governments address the drivers holistically, without racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental ability, health status, or religious prejudice;

13. We insist that our governments adhere to the internationally accepted principle known as non-refoulement, that stipulates that countries should not return migrants and refugees to unsafe conditions in their home countries or other countries;

14. We recognize the links between migrants in vulnerable transit situations and human trafficking and other dangers, and will seek to establish and maintain robust, safe, and orderly routes for refugees;

15. We urge governments to expand refugee resettlement as a humanitarian response that offers individuals safety and opportunity;

16. We recognize that displacement due to climate change already happens and will increase, and we insist that that our governments and the international community must commit to development of long-term protection solutions for persons displaced by climate change; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention recognize the process underway at the United Nations to establish a Global Compact on Refugees,[i] and a Global Compact on Migration, processes that have included advocacy by The Episcopal Church Representative to the UN and by the Office of Government Relations Refugee and Immigration Policy Advisor and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention urge the Office of the Presiding Bishop to ensure continued representation of The Episcopal Church at the United Nations and other multinational consultations with faith communities on refugee and migrant issues, alongside the Anglican Communion Office, Lutheran World Federation, and other ecumenical and interfaith partners in responding to the global refugee crisis; and be it further

Resolved, That this General Convention encourage all congregations and dioceses to learn about the intricacies of migration, including root causes through the resources provided by Episcopal Migration Ministries and its Partners in Welcome network and engage in aiding migrants to the best of their ability.

  1. See the UNHCR website for information on the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Migration: http://www.unhcr.org/

View Original Version