The social message on "Immigration" presents basic themes for discernment on questions of immigration that our society is facing. It draws from Scripture and the experience of Lutherans in America as an immigrant church in a country of immigrants. The basic themes are grounded in the call to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:35) together with the commitment to justice that advocates for fair and generous laws.

The message calls for the church to be a welcoming place and points out that immigration, refugee and asylum policies express who we are as a nation and influence the nation's future character. It focuses on questions for discussion and discernment such as pathways to citizenship, newcomers without legal status and the border with Mexico. The message should be read in conjunction with "Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform," a 2009 ELCA social policy resolution on immigration that governs how the ELCA publicly addresses contemporary questions about immigration policy reform.

The adoption of this message preceded the ELCA’s adoption (at the 2015 Churchwide Assembly) of the AMMPARO Strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. The current online wording from 1998, then, does not contain any reference to that strategy and the many opportunities it provides for congregational and synodical involvement. For more information about the AMMPARO strategy and these opportunities, please visit or contact AMMPARO staff Mary B. Campbell, Program Director, and the Program Director for Migration Policy,

You can read or download the full social message on “Immigration” in English or en español. This social message was adopted in 1998 by the Church Council of the ELCA.


Social Message (en)



Social Message (esp)



To order multiple copies of the social message click here.