On Feb. 23, the Indiana Senate passed SB 590, an Arizona-style immigration bill. If the Indiana House goes back into session, SB 590 is expected to pass and go to the governor for his signature
On Monday, March 7, 2011, leaders from Mennonite Church USA read a statement in response to Indiana Senate Bill 590. Mennonite Church USA (www.mennoniteusa.org) is an Anabaptist Christian denomination with more than 109,000 members in 939 congregations across 44 states. Mennonites seek to model a different kind of society—one built on mutual aid, trust, forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation and restitution.
“We are here today as leaders of Mennonite Church USA — leaders and staff of Mennonite Church USA agencies that have national headquarters in Indiana — representatives of churches, schools and health and human service providers, pastors and members of Mennonite congregations living and working in Indiana,” said André Gingerich Stoner, director of Holistic Witness in Elkhart and main spokesman for the event. “Together we stand opposed to Indiana Senate Bill 590. Among other things, this bill authorizes local law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of individuals and to detain them for this purpose.
Gingerich Stoner went on say that the group’s primary concern regarding the legislation is rooted in its commitment to follow Jesus and his teachings.
“This legislation could lead to mistreatment of neighbors whose first language is not English, might result in more families in our communities being torn apart, and could turn local police into immigration agents,” he said. “We join our voices with other religious leaders from across this state, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Attorney General, mayors of 120 Indiana cities and many others in supporting the Indiana Compact as a framework for a strong and fair immigration policy,” Gingerich Stoner said. “We invite our church members and neighbors to join us in signing the Indiana Compact at www.IndianaCompact.com.”
Also represented at Monday’s press conference were: Mennonite Church USA; Mennonite Education Agency of Goshen; Mennonite Health Services Alliance of Goshen; Mennonite Mission Network of Elkhart; the Central District Conference; the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference; Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary of Elkhart; Goshen College; and Bethany Christian Schools of Goshen.
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