San Diego bishop applauds Senate proposal for immigration reform

Posted Jan 31, 2013

[Episcopal Diocese of San Diego] The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, welcomed today the bipartisan group of senators’ vision for comprehensive immigration reform. The plan includes provisions for smarter enforcement, a pathway to citizenship and the prioritization of family reunification.

“We applaud our leaders for overcoming ideological divides to create a solution that will fix a broken immigration system,” said Bishop Mathes.

As a border diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is committed to being a partner with those in government and other organizations to work for fair and meaningful immigration reform, which is desperately needed in this time and place. Bishop Mathes is grateful the leadership of Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

“Our baptismal covenant requires us to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to strive for justice and peace among all people,” said Bishop Mathes. “I am encouraged by the senators’ plan for immigration reform because we are called by God to work for a world that more closely resembles his kingdom, a world where every human being is equal before God.”

For more than three decades the Episcopal Church has brought its voice to the halls of Congress and the White House through its Office of Government Relations in Washington D.C. Since 1995 it has spoken out about immigration issues and the need for reform. Some of these actions include:

• Urge the US Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform to give undocumented persons who have established roots in the US a pathway to legalization and full social and economic integration into the US. General Convention, 2009

• Urge the US government  to terminate any program that allows or funds local law enforcement agencies’ enforcement of immigration law, thereby allowing immigrant victims of crimes to report without fear of deportation. General Convention 2009

• Urge the US government to establish a moratorium on roadside checkpoints and raids carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that tear families apart. General Convention 2009

• Urge the US government to ensure that undocumented immigrant detainees are provided with humane treatment, adequate food, medical care and sanitary conditions. General Convention 2009

• Urge the US government to consider alternatives to a costly prison-like detention system for immigrants. General Convention 2009

• Urge the US government to allow undocumented youth who arrive as infants or children to pursue higher education and/or serve in the military in order to contribute to their communities and become citizens. General Convention 2009

• Adopt fundamental principles of the basic rights of undocumented persons and undertake a campaign to educate Episcopalians on the plight of refugees, immigrants and migrants. General Convention 2006

• Express concern for serious flaws in US immigration policy and support enactment of legislation that would remedy these flaws. Executive Council, June 2005

• Urge Congress to enact legislation to expand temporary workers’ programs to include all persons in the US in meaningful labor, as well as overseas workers offered employment in the US. General Convention, 2003.

• Urge the US government to ensure that needy immigrants are not unfairly denied essential services and benefits. General Convention 1997

• Oppose any policy that encourages school or other public officials to report individuals who they suspect are undocumented immigrants. Executive Council, February 1995

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is a non-profit, religious organization comprised of 50 congregations in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside Counties, CA and Yuma County, AZ. The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. For more information, please visit: or contact Hannah Wilder.