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In Light of President Trump’s Comments, Evangelical Leaders Urge Solution for Dreamers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, executives from the seven national Christian organizations that form the leadership of the Evangelical Immigration Table released a statement regarding recent reported comments from President Trump and the bipartisan Congressional negotiations over a legislative solution for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

This joint statement follows additional statements on this topic from Evangelical Immigration Table organizations, including the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and World Relief.

“Jesus emerged from the despised and disregarded town of Nazareth, a reminder that we ought never pre-judge any person based on his or her community of origin,” they write. “These biblical values inform our national values as well. The United States was founded upon the conviction that all people are created equal—though, as Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded our country, we have not always lived up to that truth.

“Our president reportedly made statements recently that stand in opposition to these core biblical and American values. The President has now denied some of the reported language. We would hope that nothing approaching what was reported would ever be said by an American leader.”

The statement then calls upon Congress to work together for a solution for Dreamers.

Following initial reports on Jan. 11, the president’s remarks have been met with dismay across the faith community. The following are quotes from other evangelical leaders:

 Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary:

“As a fellow human being, as a citizen of the United States, as a seminary president, and specially as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am horrified by and ashamed of Trump’s comments about Haiti and African countries, and their peoples…May this moment awaken a profound national lament, true repentance of racist hearts, and a fresh commitment to personal and systemic change that honors all human beings as creatures made in the image of God.”

Eugene Cho, Lead Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington:

“God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this clear. No one – let alone, the leader of a country – should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment. To Haiti & many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.”

Ann Voskamp, Bestselling Christian Author:

“It’s not political but biblical to stand & say it is indefensible, incomprehensible, reprehensible & completely unacceptable to profanely disdain countries of People of Color, but entertain welcoming people of blonde hair. Demonizing people is the 1st step to justifying anything.”

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Evangelical Leaders Call on Congress for Dreamer Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evangelical leaders sent a letter today to members of Congress, asking them to prioritize passing a legislative solution for Dreamers without further delay.

“We are disappointed that, nearly four months after the announcement of the termination of the [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] DACA program, there has still been no legislative solution for these young people,” they write. “… We continue to call on you to take action now on a legislative solution that allows these young people to continue working lawfully, to continue contributing to our communities.”

This letter follows August letters to the president and congressional leadership also calling for legislative action on Dreamers, to which more than 3,450 pastors and evangelical leaders from all 50 states since have signed on.

The following are quotes today from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Giving hope is something America is really good at doing. Taking it away again is neither a Christian nor American ideal. It’s time to give permanent hope to Dreamers raised in the USA who love and serve our country.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“At World Relief, we’ve worked in partnership with local churches to assist thousands of young people to apply for work authorization through the DACA program over the past five years. Now, these Dreamers are beginning to lose their permission to work, and thus their jobs and their livelihoods as well. Each day that passes without Congress passing a legislative solution for these Dreamers, more individuals are directly impacted, as are their families, their churches, their employers, and our economy. We urge Congress to act immediately to pass a bill that will allow these young people to keep their jobs, to continue to contribute, and eventually to earn citizenship in the country that they call their home.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Christian college and university campuses throughout the country have been blessed by the presence of Dreamer students. Many Dreamers have been able to pursue higher education because of the work authorization and protections from deportation offered through the DACA program, which is now being phased out. These Dreamers are integral members of campus communities and of this nation, which they have embraced as their own. Congress should act urgently to resolve their status.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Let’s invest in building lives and the future of our country. These Dreamers have demonstrated that they deserve the opportunity to contribute to the future of our country. We urge you to introduce legislation so that these individuals can move forward and we can all invest our energy in building our country and achieving the American dream for all.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“Only Congress has the authority to permanently resolve the urgent situation faced by Dreamers, and they should not defer action any longer. I hope that they will heed the biblical wisdom of Proverbs 3:27-28: ‘Do not withhold good to those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” — when you already have it with you.’ Congress can and should act immediately.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Dreamers have been working as productive members of our communities and sitting in the pews next to us in our churches. They are parts of families, including many who are parents of U.S. citizen children. Dreamers have come forward at the invitation and request of the federal government — and now the government has changed the rules. So the Congress has a responsibility to act, and to do so quickly. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“As hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients face the impending expiration of their work authorization and protection from deportation, evangelical Christians are standing with them. Many of these Dreamers are integral members of local churches throughout our country, and what affects them affects all of us. We’re praying that Congress will quickly come together to find a permanent, inclusive solution for Dreamers. Further delay is unacceptable.”

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