Committee recommendation impacts Refugee-resettlement policies

June 22, 2016

Bruce Gillette speaks to the Immigration and Environmental Issues Committee.

Bruce Gillette speaks to the Immigration and Environmental Issues Committee. —Michael Whitman

Portland

After spending most of Monday on its colossal piece of business – whether to recommend divesting from fossil-fuel companies – the Immigration and Environmental Issues Committee of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) made short work of what remained of its agenda Tuesday.

Among the overtures the committee will send to the full plenary is one from the Presbytery of New York City directing church agencies to provide leadership “diligently advocating for and seeking to improve” refugee resettlement policies.

The committee unanimously adopted the overture after amending it slightly.

That advocacy, the overture states, should include shorter overseas processing periods, more funding for refugee services, and the admittance of refugees as lawful permanent residents in order to, among other things, help ensure their safety.

The committee also approved the Presbytery of Monmouth’s overture directing the Presbyterian Mission Agency to “advocate wherever possible” against factory farms and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, large cattle operations known as CAFOs.

Instead, the agency is to advocate in support of farm and processing plant workers, racial-ethnic farmers, and family farmers and ranchers, among others.

In other Tuesday business, the committee approved, by a 43-11 vote, adding “caring for God’s creation” to the Book of Order’s list of the responsibilities required of members.

Brought to the committee by the Presbytery of New Castle, the overture was endorsed by the Presbyterian Mission Agency, which noted that adding the duty to the list of those required of church members “makes explicit this aspect of Christian discipleship already recognized and practiced in a great many congregations  nationwide.”

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