February 2011 - Page 2 of 2 - Church Executive

How immigration laws impact the hiring process for churches

In 1990 Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to create a special immigration status for ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations. With recent passage of restrictive immigration legislation in the state of Arizona (the now famous or infamous SB 1070) and similar legislation pending in several other states, there has been a growing concern among religious and ministerial workers as to their status or continued status in the U.S. workforce. Further, the Homeland Security department continues to push for inspections of religious organizations in an effort to prevent radical groups from using these special visa programs to get terrorists into the country. Since its inception, reports of rampant fraud have abounded in the guest worker visa program despite attempts to correct this wrong.

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