People For the American Way

Faith Leaders to Sign Immigration Reform Covenant on Ellis Island


Contact: Miranda Blue or Drew Courtney at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

A diverse group of faith leaders from a range of denominations and ethnicities will gather on Ellis Island on Wednesday, May 5, to pledge their unified support for a dignified, just, and tolerant approach to reforming the country’s immigration laws. Convened by the African American Ministers Leadership Council and African American Ministers in Action, the group will discuss and sign a covenant agreeing to a set of shared principles as they prepare to lead the dialogue about immigration reform in their faith communities.

The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation, is a non-partisan network of ministers working to strengthen congregational and community participation in civic life. African American Ministers in Action, a program of People For the American Way, is a network of progressive ministers dedicated to pursuing a broad justice vision in policy debates on local, state, and national levels.

  • What: Shepherds Gathering and Peacemakers Immigration Reform Covenant Signing: Faith Leaders United for Dignity, Honor, Respect and Love

  • Who: The African American Ministers Leadership Council, African American Ministers in Action, Alianza Dominicana, Reform Immigration for America, and women and men from various faith traditions, cultures and communities

  • When:  Wednesday, May 5, 2010

              11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

  • Where: Ellis Island Immigration Museum

                          3rd Floor Conference Room

                          New York, NY



Covenant of Faith Leaders United for Dignity, Honor, Respect and Love

We, the people of various faith traditions and ethnic origins, committed to a unifying love ethic that calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and welcome the stranger, join with African American Ministers Leadership Council, African American Ministers In Action and others to present this covenant statement for immigration reform.

Our shared principles include:

  • Respect for human dignity in our conversations, interactions and yes, legislation that does not reflect the toxins of xenophobia.
  • Embracing the teachings of our sacred texts to welcome immigrants as our neighbors.
  • Sensitivity that every nation has the right to decide responsibly how one can enter its borders so as not to send mixed messages, posting “Help Wanted” signs that attract labor that can be exploited economically followed by “Get Out” signs once individuals arrive.
  • Penalization of economic exploitation.
  • Enforcement laws that do not promote or engage in racial profiling, intimidation, dehumanization or fear tactics.
  • Clarity in the process that promotes immigrant workers and their families already in the country toward citizenship based on fair criteria.
  • Tolerance by all people in the nation as the federal government attempts to enact comprehensive immigration reform that does not contribute to an atmosphere whereby individual states might pass reactionary and intolerant legislation.

On this day, May 5, 2010, the undersigned faith leaders do enter into this sacred agreement with our God and Authority who is called by many names to call on all people of these United States to embrace the Declaration that nowhere implies that any State, group or person has the right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

We stand in agreement that we are a nation of laws noting as St. Augustine declared, “An unjust law is no law at all.”

We stand in agreement to raise awareness and education on this issue so that as the political process takes place it, and any outcome, will not bring forth what is antithetical to the preamble of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

We stand in agreement therefore with many voices for RESPECT and immigration dialogue and reform that will inspire hope, unites families, secures borders, ensures dignity and provides a legal avenue for all of God’s children working and desiring to reside in this country to drink for the well of justice and equal protection under the law.