"We in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America minister with the most vulnerable of the newcomers through congregations and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Where possible, we work ecumenically. Our ministry resettles refugees, advocates on behalf of detained asylum seekers, assists unaccompanied children, offers pastoral and legal counsel to persons without legal status, aides persons with the citizenship process, and helps newcomers learn to live in a new country." - ELCA social message on immigration (1998)

Immigration Ministry Partners

Cristo Rey Border Immersions
Offers border immersion and education in El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico, sister cities on the Rio Grande. Cristo Rey is also an active partner in the refugee/migrant hospitality ministry in El Paso.

Border Servant Corps
Border immersions and education in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM. BSC is also an active partner in the refugee/migrant hospitality ministry in El Paso and Las Cruces.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Develops service programs and organizations and influences public policy around the globe

Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountain 
One branch of ministry of Lutheran Family Services is their Refugee and Asylee program. LFSRM works together with LIRS, and other churches, organizations, community groups, businesses, and individuals to provide the services and supplies necessary for refugees to become self-sufficient and integrate into their new communities.

Accompanies migrant children and families in the courtroom

RMS/ELCA Immigration Statements

ELCA social message on immigration - 1998 (in English) (in Spanish)

Toward Compassionate, Just, and Wise Immigration Reform - 2009 (in English) (in Spanish)

Memorial from 2019 CWA regarding Sanctuary


In 2019, a memorial was adopted at the Churchwide Assembly that declared the ELCA a Sanctuary Denomination.  In its simplest form, becoming a sanctuary denomination means that the ELCA is publicly declaring that walking alongside immigrants and refugees is a matter of faith.  Being a sanctuary denomination is about loving our neighbors. Being a sanctuary denomination will look different in different contexts. It may mean providing space for people to live; providing financial and legal support to those who are working through the immigration system; or supporting other congregations and service providers.

The action of the 2019 Churchwide Assembly is consistent with actions taken at previous churchwide and synod assemblies regarding our ELCA AMMPARO Strategy to accompany migrant minors.  As a border synod, we have already been in engaged in similar work:  offering respite and care for families on the border, being present at immigration hearings, and advocating for legislation for the sake of our migrant neighbors. We as the Rocky Mountain Synod have been publicly advocating for and accompanying refugees and asylum-seekers as part of our witness long before this decision was made by the assembly. 
Sanctuary Summary
Sanctuary Resource Page