Love Thy Neighbor: The promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

September 27, 2017
Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

By Dulce Gamboa

Every day, social, economic, and political pressures force people around the globe to leave their homes in search of a better life.

Parents take their children on risky journeys to escape extreme poverty, hunger, or violence. They are responsible parents who want to provide for their families, like any other parent would do. The reality is that people facing hunger and poverty around the world cannot always count on economic opportunities and relief when they need it. If we want to address the immigration influx to the United States, we cannot ignore its root causes: hunger, poverty, and violence.

Political inaction has dominated the immigration debate for far too many years. Congress needs to overhaul an immigration system that no longer reflects the reality of the U.S. economy. We are a nation with a dynamic economy powered by immigrants, whether its agriculture, construction, or creation of new businesses.

Faith communities have been involved in the immigration debate both because many undocumented people are part of our religious communities, and because it is what Jesus taught us, to treat everyone with dignity. After all, we are all children of God. We are all made in the image of God, living in the world of God, and following the mission of God.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus becomes a refugee himself when He and his family flee persecution and decided to migrate into Egypt. Certainly, migrants who cross the deserts, rivers, and borders in search for a better, dignified life, can see themselves in the story of Jesus. A story of hope in the midst of challenging situations.

We believe that the immigration system should respond to the immigration crisis based on our call of loving our neighbor as ourselves and ensuring that the immigration reform delivers the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. In Pope Francis words, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”

Part of loving our immigrant brothers and sisters as ourselves requires advocating for their well-being and dignity. Are we responding to the higher call of loving our immigrant neighbors?  Are we willing to open our hearts to immigrants that have been our neighbors, friends, and colleagues for so long? Let’s follow Jesus’ example by extending God’s love to undocumented immigrants wherever they are. At the end of the day, we all are part of the body of Christ, regardless of immigration status.

Dulce Gamboa is associate for Latino relations at Bread for the World.

Political inaction has dominated the immigration debate for far too many years. 

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • Racially Equitable Responses to Hunger During COVID-19 and Beyond

    By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have historically had higher...

  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

    With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

For Advocacy


African at Heart

November 22, 2019


From the Blog