2010 Minute on Immigration: We approve the following minute:
Iowa City Friends of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), in keeping with our testimony of the Light within, or that of God in each person, recognize all persons as brothers and sisters, equal and infinitely valuable.
We deplore, therefore, the use of the term “aliens,” to denote “human beings” whether they are in the U.S. illegally or legally. We also deplore the mythmaking that sees persons not born in the United States or of non-white ethnic groups as lazy, as criminals, or as terrorists.
Going beyond current myths we recognize that immigrant workers contribute to the U.S. economy rather than detract from it and that workers come to the U.S., often at great risks to themselves, because of the desire to work at gainful employment in order to support themselves and their families.
We also recognize that current U.S. policies force millions of persons to live in a shadow economy subject to exploitation, arrest and the destruction of their families. Current government policies have also led to deaths in the desert southwest and on the open seas, the necessity of obtaining fraudulent government documents, increases in criminal smuggling and human trafficking, and public frustration over systems that do not serve our economy, our national security or our local communities
Real reform requires comprehensive immigration policies that allow workers to fill labor needs, reunite families, and allow for a clear path to earn legalization, lawful permanent residency and citizenship.
As did many of our ancestors, current immigrants come to this country for economic needs or because of persecution. Throughout history immigrants to the U.S. have contributed diverse cultures, perspectives, and resources, resulting in a wealth of creativity, innovation, and opportunities in all phases of our lives. Our latest immigrants are similarly enriching our lives and our communities.
Iowa City Friends encourage local, state and national governments to develop immigration policies which are fair, just, and respectful of the dignity and worth of all human beings, balancing the needs and well-being of native born Americans, legal immigrants, and those who are working here but are in our country illegally.
Any reform of our immigration system must also address the root causes of the migration of human beings.
We encourage Peace and Social Concerns to continue its consideration of immigration issues. We will also refer the minute to the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Yearly Meeting.