Jump to: Immigration Rights Resources -- Immigration Myths -- Biblically-based Response to Treatment of Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration Rights Resources

There are fundamental rights that apply to all people in the United States, whether they be citizens, documented immigrants, or undocumented immigrants. These include the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Fourth Amendment (regarding search and seizure) and the Fifth Amendment (regarding due process).

Here are some resources especially for undocumented immigrants

Immigration Myths

On March 5, 2017, Faith in the Valley held an information session at Wesley UMC about immigration facts and myths. Lorena Lara debunked four common myths about immigrants:

  1. Myth#1: Immigrants create an undue burden on our welfare and healthcare programs. See the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America's "Immigration: Myth and Facts". Undocumented immigrants are NOT eligible for Social Security (though they pay into it), Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Medicare, Food stamps. Because undocumented immigrants have to live in the shadows, they rely on emergency rooms for their health care which is the most expensive form of healthcare. With a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform, they would be able to pay for their own healthcare and not use the expensive emergency rooms.
  2. Myth#2: Immigration results in higher crime rates. While legal and unauthorized immigration grew, the violent crime and property crime rates both fell. Incarceration rates for young men are lowest for immigrants (regardless of ethnicity and educational attainment) and less than half that for native born men.
  3. Myth#3: Undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes. See The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's "Undocumented Immigrants' State & Local Tax Contributions" study that was updated in March 2017. In California, undocumented immigrants paid $3.2 billion in state and local taxes and they would pay $3.7 billion if they were granted a pathway to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
  4. Myth#4: Undocumented immigrants are jumping the line---they should enter the country legally. See below for why there is effectively no line.

For answers to these common myths, please check out CNN Money's "5 Immigration Myths Debunked" and CitizenPath's "Top 10 Immigration Myths Debunked". The U.S. Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America (Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits Division) updated their "Immigration: Myths and Facts" page in 2016 that addresses the four myths above and others.

What Part of Legal Immigration Don't You Understand?Regarding "jumping the line" criticism, consider the huge backlog of Visa approvals. The latest Visa bulletin is posted on the Department of State's Visa bulletin website at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html . For family-sponsored preference Visa requests, the backlogs for people from Mexico and the Philippines extends back over twenty years to the 1990s. Most people would fall under the "Family-Sponsored Preference" and the numbers listed in the Visa bulletin are the number of people allowed into the U.S. every year. The dates given on the Visa bulletin website are the application dates the state department is currently processing but as noted below, the processing is very slow and the date has not changed for a long time. Link to PDF of "What Part of Legal Immigration Don't You Understand?" graphic from Reason.org (October 2008 issue).

In the "U.S. Immigration Policies: The Reality Behind the Rhetoric" forum at Bakersfield College, Win Eaton shared that his firm, Eaton and Associates, calculated how long it would take a U.S. citizen parent to bring their adult son or daughter from Mexico (view from timepoint 55:30 to 57:30 of the video). If you base the date of arrival of the adult child on what's happened over the past 15 years in the U.S.---how much the Visa bulletin has moved, the U.S. citizen parent would be faced with a 135-year wait! (Yes, over a century.) There is effectively NO line for those coming from Mexico and the Philippines.

"Struggles and Success of Undocumented Latino College Students" Levan Faculty Colloquium by BC Philosophy Professor Anna Poetker on November 4, 2016. She talks about the experiences of oppression and discriminatory practices many Dream Act students face, including by even those in their own community.

Biblically-based Response to Treatment of Undocumented Immigrants

Here are what United Methodist Bishops have said recently about immigration policies and Bible passages that talk about how we should treat undocumented immigrants. This section will have further updates!

  1. Bishop Bruce Ough's statement on the original immigration ban. Bishop Ough is currently the president of the UM Council of Bishops.
  2. Bishop Ough's letter about the nation's "division and discord".
  3. Bishop Minerva Carcano's Lenten Reflection of March 6, 2017. Bishop Carcano is the bishop for the California-Nevada Annual Conference that includes Kern County. She is also the spokesperson for the UM Council of Bishops on immigration issues.
  4. Bishop Carcano's Letter "Support to Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters" dated February 16, 2017.
  5. Bishop Carcano's Letter "Stand in Solidarity with Refugee and Muslim Communities" dated February 2, 2017.
  6. United Church of Christ's "Biblical References to Immigrants and Refugees".
  7. "Scripture and Immigration" from the "Welcoming the Stranger" website.
  8. "100 Bible Verses about Immigration" from OpenBible.
Wesley United Methodist Church -- Bakersfield, CA