In our first year of study, 2010, SOUTH DAKOTA FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE members examined three historically divisive issues in our state—healthcare, abortion and immigration. Our goal was to increase sensitivity toward opposing viewpoints and to practice the search for shared values that might lead to creative solutions. This was a training phase for the group, at the end of which we selected one topic for in-depth study in 2011: Immigration Reform. We brought in several guest speakers who work in this area; we shared our denominational positions; and finally, we read, shared and discussed current news and research related to immigration.
At the completion of our study, we adopted the Interfaith Platform on Immigration Reform. We facilitated our first public program at the Sioux Falls Ministerial Association, presenting this platform along with facilitating discussion with selected guest speakers who work in the area of immigration reform. In 2011, we sent letters to Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune and Representative Kristi Noem, endorsing the Interfaith Platform on Immigration Reform and urging them to vote for legislation that could implement its recommendations.