Tomorrow is a national Lutheran Day of Action to stop the SAFE Act, a bill that would make it a new crime to provide services, transport, or shelter to undocumented immigrants. I’m writing to ask you to join with like-minded people of faith in speaking out against this criminalization of compassion!
As part of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC), LIRS has designated September 25 to be a national Lutheran Day of Action in which we reach out to our representatives and communicate that people of faith stand for fair and compassionate immigration reform and against unreasonable legislation like the SAFE Act.
As immigration reform is under discussion in the House of Representatives, we want to be sure that any legislation aligns with our five core principles for comprehensive and compassionate reform. So far, several bills changing various components of our immigration system were passed by House committees and may eventually come up for a vote.
Among these bills, one deserves careful attention – the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (H.R. 2278), or “SAFE Act”. If enacted, this bill would harm our communities, obstruct ministry and acts of compassion to undocumented individuals, and decrease access to justice, protections, and immigration relief for certain migrants and refugees. Hundreds of our colleagues from various faith traditions as well as Refugee Council USA have also strongly spoken out against the SAFE Act.
Incredibly, the SAFE Act would make it a new crime to provide services, transport, or shelter to undocumented immigrants. This criminalization of compassion may prevent churches, individuals, attorneys, social service agencies, and refugee organizations from acting in good faith to care for those in need. The bill also makes it a crime to spend one day in the United States without proper immigration paperwork. Additionally, the SAFE Act expands the use of mandatory and indefinite detention for people facing civil immigration charges, and endorses the approach of Arizona and SB 1070, which the Supreme Court gutted as unconstitutional, by encouraging state and local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement.
The SAFE Act is not the answer that America needs to our outdated and inadequate immigration laws. We need immigration reform that underscores our American values by emphasizing compassion and family unity, providing a roadmap to citizenship for the undocumented, and protecting individuals fleeing persecution.
On September 25, join the Lutheran Day of Action by contacting your representative in the House by calling 1-866-940-2439 or the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also send a message to your representative via the LIRS Action Center. Now is the time to let your representative know that you oppose harsh and unreasonable bills like the SAFE Act and instead support meaningful reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, ensures humane and just enforcement of immigration laws, unites migrant and refugee families, protects those fleeing persecution, and safeguards the rights of U.S. citizen and migrant workers.