Going back to at least 1984, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has expressed concern for the plight of immigrant peoples in the United States, has advocated for compassionate care of immigrants and their families, and has encouraged actions to change immigration policies in the United States.


The Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse has a long history of demonstrated commitment to issues related to providing sanctuary to those in need...

  • At least two congregations were involved in the Underground Railroad.
  • The city of Syracuse was the site for the famous "Jerry Rescue," in which the citizens brazenly defied the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
  • Auburn is the home of Harriet Tubman, whose house and surrounding area have been designated as the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.


The Presbyterian Synod of the Northeast has established Immigration Action Network to provide support and resources for individuals, congregations, and presbyteries to become educated about and involved in this timely, important issue.  You may find out more here: http://www.synodne.org/immigration-action/.


The concept of "sanctuary" is at least as old as biblical times, when there were Cities of Refuge established throughout ancient Israel.  Many people in the Church today are wrestling with the need for, and the complex issues involved in, declaring their congregation to be a "sanctuary church."  Here is a webpage that offers important and helpful resources about this question: https://goo.gl/Od3OWZ.

Here are several documents that relate to this question:

GA220 (2012) resolution re immigrant action.pdf

GA220 (2012) resolution re immigrant plight.pdf

GA222 (2016) resolution re ministry of sanctuary.pdf

Advocacy can take the form of inquiring about programs that involve local law enforcement in enforcing federal immigration laws, contacting your legislators to urge them to take action on immigration, direct service in partnership with local immigrant communities, and education on immigration issues.  Be creative, prayerful and discern how, as a community, God is calling you to respond to the needs of our communities. For information about advocacy in this area, a number of resources are available here: https://goo.gl/Glh9Rd.

Finally, the webapge for the Office of Immigration Issues of the General Assembly, which has links to a great number of resources, is found here: https://goo.gl/Zecxuq.