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Publications and periodicals

  • AgJobs

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Farms rely on immigrant labor to help plant, tend, and harvest the fruits and vegetables that are grown in the US. These are low-paying low skill jobs that historically US citizens have been hesitant to take. To help meet the needs of farmers, the US government has a temporary worker program known as the H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program. However, demand far outweighs the availability of these visas. There are three million agricultural jobs that are available each year. Yet in 2007 the Department of State issued 50,791 H-2A visas. The very limited number of visas available for ...

  • Refugees: Understanding the immigration status of refugees

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Individuals and families who flee their homes because of persecution, famine, or war are classified by the UN as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). However, if they manage to escape their country and enter another country, they become "refugees" and are protected by international law. These families and individuals often seek shelter in refugee camps where they are required to complete paperwork with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in order to be officially recognized as a refugee. They will have to wait, six years or more, to be resettled after their application is approved. The main countries participating in ...

  • Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act (HR1215)

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Some 28,700 immigration detainees are in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) every day.1 These detainees are not held at a central location, rather they are housed in a patchwork of some 353 facilities, including jails and private for-profit prisons.2 There has been a rapid increase in the number of detainees in custody at these various sites, an increase of 61% from January 2006 to December 2007.3 While there are laws that are enforceable regarding the treatment of criminal inmates in jails and prisons, there are no such codified guidelines for immigration detainees.

  • Immigration and Crime

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Across the country calls are being made to limit immigration and deport undocumented immigrants based on the erroneous belief that there is a correlation between high levels of immigration and crime. Although, research consistently reveals immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, the misperception continues. The National Opinion Research Center’s 2000 General Social Survey, asked whether respondents believed "more immigrants cause higher crime rates" and 73% believed that immigration is causally related to more crime.

  • Local and State Government

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Immigration laws and enforcement are under the jurisdiction of federal authorities. Congress has the responsibility to create and enforce laws that pertain to the entry and exit of immigrants as well as define the conditions of their employment and protection from discrimination. However, in the recent past congress has chosen not to act on the issue of immigration.

  • Detention: Impact on Immigrants

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    In 1952, Ellis Island was closed and the United States moved away from a system of detention for immigrants unless they were deemed a flight risk or a danger to society. Under this system, immigrants were permitted to remain with family until mandatory court appearances. However, in the mid-1990’s this changed and there was an increase in mandatory detention without bond for many immigrants.

  • Detention: Impact on Children

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    While being in violation of immigration laws is a civil matter and not a crime; men, women, and children are increasingly being incarcerated for these infractions. Detainees are under the care and jurisdiction of federal officers but since they lack the facilities to hold them they contract with local jails and private for-profit prisons to accommodate over half of those in custody. Since most jails and prisons cannot accommodate children, including nursing infants, they are often taken into state custody. Immigrant detainees are often transferred from state to state which can prevent visitations with children and hinder efforts to gain ...

  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    From Office of the General AssemblyImmigration

    Current US immigration policy is complicated and governmental departments face a backlog of applications upwards of 5 to 7 years. If a foreign born person wishes to come to the US to work and live there are only a few ways he/she can obtain the necessary visa: obtain refugee/asylum status; win one of only 50,000 visas available each year in the US sponsored "lottery" (in 2009 9.1 million qualified applications were received for the lottery); or have a sponsor that is either employment or family based. While this sounds reasonable the parameters around these options are ...

  • From Homelessness to Hope

    From Office of the General Assembly

    According to a 2007 report from the Center for Housing Policy, American households, whether renting or owning, are under increased pressure to maintain housing. Between 1997 and 2005, the number of working families paying more than half their income for housing increased 87 percent, from 2.4 million to 4.5 million. When families living in severely inadequate or dilapidated housing are included, the total of working families with critical housing needs rises to 5.2 million nationally. Housing needs exist across “the housing landscape” from large to small metropolitan areas, in urban and suburban counties alike.

  • Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness

    From Office of the General Assembly

    The biblical theme of “exile” guides this policy statement. After offering a working definition and an account of the historical context, the report focuses on two major themes. The first theme is “The Land of Exile,” which explores the difficulties and injustices endured by people with serious mental illness. The experience of mental illness disorders people’s lives in ways that exile them from themselves, their  families, and their community. The second theme, “God’s Call to Comfort,” focuses on appropriate ways congregations can minister with and to people with a serious mental illness. Throughout this report, people are understood ...

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