THE FREE METHODIST POSITION ON IMMIGRATION
Bishop David Roller and Bruce Cromwell
At the heart of the arguments surrounding immigration matters is a fundamental tension between our desire to care for all persons and our respect for the rights of the state to establish laws, including economic policy. Both are legitimate impulses but their position, vis-à-vis each other, is subject to God’s principles extracted from the Scriptural narrative. If, as we will suggest below, the desire to care for persons is a different and higher category than the state’s right to restrict immigration, then we monitor laws of the state that create friction with the mandate to care for persons (see “A,” “B,” & “E” from 2011 Book of Discipline ¶ 3221) and we advocate to change the behaviors and laws in question (“C” and “D” from the same paragraph).
Immigration laws are based on citizenship (only non-citizens are subject to a particular state’s immigration laws), which is a concept of the state based, in turn, on birth realities. The two opposing birth realities for granting citizenship are “Jus Soli” (right of the soil or birthright citizenship) and “Jus Sanguinis” (right of blood). In the former, citizenship is based on place-of- birth and in the latter it’s based on parent’s citizenship. Jus Sanguinis was Roman law but has gradually lost favor to Jus Soli, especially in the New World.
Both of these rationales, one’s place of birth and parent’s citizenship,