As you know, immigration is an issue close to my heart. Today, in our Bishop's weekly letter, she shared this letter from Bishop Beverly Shamana of Northern California/Nevada.
e360 August 2, 2007 “Letter to the Governor”
from Bishop Swenson
Dear Friends in ministry,
I’ve just returned from this experience across the border into Mexico with my fellow bishops of the Western Jurisdiction. I want to tell you more soon, but for now, I’ll share this letter that Bishop Shamana crafted on our behalf. We will be asking the whole Council of Bishops to join us in giving attention to this matter, and I ask for yours today. Your sister and bishop in Christ, Mary Ann
To the Honorable Governor of the State of Arizona, Janet NapolitanoDear Governor Napolitano,
We the bishops of The United Methodist Church who have the privilege of serving in the Western region of the U.S. have just completed a week long immersion and study experience along the southern border of the state of Arizona. We also had the opportunity to travel into Mexico. The concern that brought us to Arizona and Mexico is the immigration situation.
While in your area we have seen the work of Humane Borders, the Samaritans, and No More Deaths. We have walked in the desert and seen water stations that serve immigrants as well as those vast areas where there is no water available to those who make the treacherous journey through the Arizona desert. We have been in conversation and prayer with immigrants; those who have crossed the border and been detained and repatriated to Mexico, and those who await the journey to the U.S. in places like Altar in Sonora, Mexico. We have also been in conversation with church leaders in Arizona and in Mexico. We were deeply saddened by the great suffering of immigrants who are entering the U.S. along our southern border, and the suffering that their journey must cause their families who remain in Mexico or who await them in the U.S.
We leave the state of Arizona on this day praying not only for the immigrants, but for you. We pray that God will give you great wisdom, and we pray that God will lift you up as a courageous moral voice on this issue. Nothing less than just comprehensive immigration reform will help us on the issue of immigration. We believe you have the ability to lead not only this state, but also this country in such reform. We pray that you will have the political will to step forth and lead us well in this critical time.
Two immediate concerns that we would place before you are that you consider granting Humane Borders permission to place water stations in identified areas that fall within state land trusts. This would have the potential of saving many lives from unnecessary death in the desert. Secondly, we would ask that you intervene in the Border Patrol's practice of repatriating women and children during the night hours. During our visit we have come to learn that the Border Patrol repatriates women and children during the night placing them in danger of assault and sexual violation.
We stand ready to further share with you our experience of this week and our ongoing experiences as we serve in our distinct areas. Enclosed please find documents related to immigration that reflect the ongoing work of The United Methodist Church on this critical matter.