Numerous resources exist for those interested in learning more about immigration issues. What follows is the Ohio Conference resolution on immigration adopted at the 2019 Annual Conference Assembly, as well as a list of websites, films and printed materials about immigration.
Immigration Resource Team Report
Immigrant — a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence
Refugee — a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution
Asylum — an inviolable place of refuge and protection giving shelter to criminals and debtors
Undocumented — lacking documents required for legal immigration or residence
TPS — Temporary Protected Status
ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement
DHS — Department of Homeland Security
DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America* by Jessica Goudeau (2020, adult non-fiction narrative). Striking accounts based on the author’s friendships overseas and in Austin, Texas — of two women’s experience with terror, opportunity, and the human impact of ever-shifting federal policies towards refugees from 1880 to present.
Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.
The House that Love Built by Sarah Jackson. (2020, for readers 16 and older). The gripping story of a young Christian woman in Denver, moved with compassion for immigrants in a local detention center, who opened her apartment to out-of-town families who were visiting loved ones in the detention center and grew this ministry to its own hospitality house — Casa de Paz.
Immigration and the Bible — Missio Dei series — Mennonite Mission Network (Spanish edition available) by M. Daniel Carroll R.
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border* by Francisco Cantú (2018, adult non-fiction). The story of the son of Mexican immigrants who becomes a border patrol agent, highlighting his experiences as an agent, the personal reckoning he had to undertake after witnessing the violence of the border, and the complex issues that occur on both sides of the border due to our current immigration and border control policies.
Loving the Stranger: Welcoming Immigrants in the Name of Jesus by Jessica Udall
Separated: Inside an American Tragedy by Jacob Soboroff (2020, adult non-fiction). Well-researched look at the U.S. policy of separating adult undocumented immigrants from their children and its severe impact on these individuals.
Welcoming the Stranger by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Yang (2018). Excellent book for individual or group study with discussion questions for each chapter. The authors discuss immigrants’ experiences in our current system and show the system’s limitations.
*May contain language or other content that could be offensive to some.
Coming to America: The Story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro (1996). Grades 3-5. (Includes brief reference to war as a reason to leave one’s homeland.) Introduces the idea that we are all immigrants and talks about the process of coming to Ellis Island and the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. Speaks briefly about refugees. Discussion Questions
Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say. (1993) Grades 3-5. (Includes brief reference to war as a reason to leave one’s homeland.) Author tells the story of his grandfather’s experience in coming to America from Japan. Discussion Questions
Organizations and Movements
American Immigration Council – Provides demographics, census data and economic impact of immigrants. www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/immigrants-ohio
Brazo en Brazo – Spanish-language spiritual ministry to individuals and families. Marti Meza (419) 296-9574
East Central Ohio Sanctuary Network — https://www.ecosn.net/
Evangelical Immigration Table – A national movement committed to learning more about what the Bible says about “welcoming the stranger.” evangelicalimmigrationtable.com
Immigrant Worker Project – Faith-based organization in Canton that has provided legal assistance to immigrants for more than 20 years. iwpohio.org/english_version/program.htm
The Matthew 25 Movement/Pledge – Immigration toolkit. www.matthew25pledge.com
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) – Immigration resources. mcc.org/learn/what/categories/immigration
Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) – Immigration resources. https://www.mennoniteusa.org/ministry/peacebuilding/learn-pray-join/immigration-justice/
National Hispanic and Latino Mental Health Technology Transfer Center – Provides training to improve the capacity of the workforce serving Hispanic communities in behavioral health prevention and treatment. org/centers/national-hispanic-and-latino-mhttc
Ohio Immigrant Alliance – A group of Ohio immigrants and citizens working together to protect the dignity and rights of all individuals who choose to make Ohio their home. www.facebook.com/Ohio-Immigrant-Alliance-Public-Page-108785600874071
ONE group – Advocates for Hispanic immigrants in Dover/New Philly area. (330) 556-0428
Open Arms Hispanic Ministry – Anabaptist organization that has been ministering to and working to meet the needs of Hispanic immigrants in Wayne Co. and the surrounding areas. www.openarmshispanicministry.org
Project Hope/Proyecto Esperanza – Led by the Franciscan Sisters of Tiffin and based at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, this organization works on providing legal services and other means of support to immigrants. (419) 445-0728
Sanctuary Movement — https://www.sanctuarynotdeportation.org/
Women of Welcome – A community of Christian women committed to creating a movement of Christ-like welcome in our country. womenofwelcome.com
- Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery
- Mennonite Central Committee
- Mennonite Central Committee Washington
- Migrant Worker Resource Guide
- National Immigration Forum
- National Immigration Law Center
A Better Life* – Hard-working, undocumented single dad works to reconnect with his teenage son and keep him from getting pulled into the local gang life.
El Norte* – Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.
Men with Guns* – Filmed in a Latin American country, we meet a doctor searching for his former students, only to learn that they’ve been taken by “men with guns.”
The Other Side of Immigration* – A 2010 documentary that explores why so many people leave the Mexican countryside to work in the USA.
The Stranger* – A film on immigration and scripture. thestrangerfilm.org
*May contain language or other content that could be offensive to some.
“Sanctuary for Edith” — http://www.columbusmennonite.org/who-we-are/sanctuary-edith
Loving Strangers as Ourselves: Biblical Reflections (Available from Mennonite Central Committee)
This resource, in the form of a booklet, reflects on God’s view of the strangers in the biblical text. The booklet is a timely resource for churches. In this booklet you will find seven lessons written by seven different Anabaptist authors addressing biblical texts in which God reminds his people about how to treat the strangers who live among us. Each lesson has an introduction to the topic, exploration of the biblical text, exploration of the topic, a life application and discussion questions. These biblical reflection lessons could be used in Sunday school or for small group discussion.
Strangers No More [.pdf] (congregational resources based on Atlanta 2003 Immigration Statement)
List of Immigration Resources [.pdf] from Western District Conference
The Ohio Conference Prayer Ministry Team has developed a 30-day prayer guide, The Immigrant Experience in Ohio. This prayer guide has primarily been written for individuals to use in their time of daily devotional reading and prayer. Included are stories from immigrants who have related to two Hispanic ministries in Ohio Conference, Brazo en Brazo in Lima and Open Arms in Wayne County.
Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform — www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com
Communities in Crisis: Interior Removals and Their Human Consequences — https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2331502418820066
Brian Hoffman of Cleveland, immigration attorney and educator on immigration issues, works with the International Institute of Akron. firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Kline, Director, Cleveland Jobs with Justice, 20525 Center Ridge Rd. Ste 700, Rocky River, OH 44116
Office: 440-333-700 Cell: 216-310-7657
Conference staff and several pastors are building bridges with a Congolese congregation in Akron.
Ideas for action
- Learn a few words of greeting in the native language of immigrants in your area
- Attend a multi-cultural event in your area
- Make up a daily prayer list for individuals, ministries, government
- Sign up for an MCC Learning Tour at the border
- Invite an immigrant to your home for a meal
- Join an organization working on immigration issues