A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Immigration

Although Assemblies should always counsel the believers to be obedient to civil law, it is not necessary or desirable for Assemblies to attempt to enforce civil law. The legal system in the United States is complicated, and sometimes actions that appear to be violations of law are not found to be so upon further investigation, or upon consideration by the courts. The civil authorities are charged with this responsibility and Bahá’í Assemblies should not interfere in the civil processes. Immigration laws are particularly complex, and it is not possible to make generalizations as to whether a particular act constitutes a violation of law under a given set of circumstances.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)


Bahá’í institutions have no influence on the application for refugee status ... They [Bahá’ís seeking refugee resettlement] are solely responsible for their own financial needs and resettlement arrangements. It should be noted that the Bahá’ís in Iran are aware of this guidance.
(Universal House of Justice, dated November 21, 2002, to a National Spiritual Assembly)


If a Bahá’í comes to a Local Spiritual Assembly with specific immigration questions, the Assembly may wish to suggest that the individual contact governmental or service agencies or an immigration attorney (without recommending any attorney or agency in particular) in the area where they live.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 30)


If an Assembly is contacted by an agency of the federal government, it should seek advice from the National Spiritual Assembly’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 833-8990 or bahaisus@usbnc.org before responding.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)


In an application for citizenship the applicant, among other things, is asked whether he or she is willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States if the law requires it, and whether he or she is willing to perform noncombatant services (i.e., service in any unit of the armed forces which does not require the use of arms in combat, such as service in the medical department of any of the armed forces), if called upon to do so. Bahá’ís should answer “yes” to both of these questions. As Bahá’ís are obligated to obey the laws of the government under which they live, including federal laws regarding military service, they must be willing to serve in the military, if obligated to do so (in which case they should apply for non-combatant status on the basis of religious beliefs). A letter outlining the Bahá’í position on military service and preference for non-combatant status, which also confirms that the individual is a member of the United States Bahá’í community, is available upon request by contacting the National Spiritual Assembly. The letter should not be needed, however, if the two questions are answered correctly in the initial application.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)


Local Assemblies should not become involved with the legal aspects of refugee, immigration and asylum issues. They should not write to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or the Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to verify the Bahá’í membership of an immigrant believer, or for any other reason.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)



Local Spiritual Assemblies must avoid becoming involved in legal matters of immigration, asylum, or refugee status.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)


Questions or concerns related to the resettlement of Persian Bahá’í refugees should be referred to the following offices:
* Membership issues — membership status, name or contact information changes — contact the Office of Membership and Records at membership@usbnc.org
* Concerns specific to Persian believers — contact the Office of Persian-American Affairs atpersian@usbnc.org
* Other concerns that have arisen in a local community following the resettlement of refugees in that community — contact the Office of Community Administration at community@usbnc.org
* Questions about contact and/or collaboration with national and international refugee agencies —contact the Office of Public Affairs at bahaisus@usbnc.org
* Questions about contact with the United States’ government concerning refugee issues that are not legal or visa issues — contact the Office of Public Affairs at bahaisus@usbnc.org (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)


Spiritual Assemblies should be aware that there are a number of resettlement agencies that can offer services to refugees upon their arrival in the United States, usually for a period of 30–90 days. Several national agencies have contracts with the federal government and may help refugees obtain clothing, housing, and household furnishings. In addition, they may offer English as a second language programs, assist in enrolling children in school, arrange for medical care, and help obtain a Social Security card to enable the refugee(s) to find work and become self-supporting. Agencies on the state level, on a case-by-case basis may offer similar programs including family counseling and some financial support until the refugees become self-reliant.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 31)