Fox News recently reported that "from California to Illinois to New Mexico, churches and religious organizations have opened their doors for undocumented immigrant children." And in a recent post, PARSE detailed five ways to respond compassionately to the unaccompanied child crisis.
There are certainly growing opportunities to reach out to immigrants. As church leaders think through how to best respond, they may wonder about what laws they might be breaking. For instance, what about undocumented immigrants attending worship services? Ann Buwalda, an immigration attorney, says in Church Law & Tax Report that "churches are under no legal obligation to restrict worship services to only those lawfully present in the United States." She does stress, however, that "churches should exercise the same level of screening for all volunteers, regardless of their citizen status, to exclude those who may have criminal histories and otherwise pose a risk to children or other congregants."
Managing Your Church previously covered three key voices on how churches should respond to illegal immigrants in the church.
For more information on this topic, check out the downloadable resource Immigration & the Church.
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