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June 14, 2018

In an attempt to defend his zero tolerance approach to immigration and the subsequent family separations at the U.S. border, Jeff Session told church leaders that at least “we are not sending children to jail with their parents.”

“We currently spend more than $1 billion a year in taxpayer dollars taking care of unaccompanied illegal alien minors,” he said in a speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Thursday, where he justified the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“They are provided food, education in their native language, health and dental care, and transported to their destination city—all at taxpayer expense.”

Read more from Newsweek>>

What do evangelicals want from Trump on foreign policy?

June 13, 2018

President Trump met with an avowed enemy with great fanfare this week, following a blast of fiery tweets aimed at the Group of Seven nations meeting in Quebec last week.

Meanwhile, halfway through his second year as president, Trump’s domestic agenda has largely run its course.

Of all the voters that put Trump into the White House, the happiest bunch to this point might be evangelical Christians.

Read more from Religion News Service>>

Mick Scott: How about ‘zero tolerance’ for cruelty?

June 9, 2018

When I began reading “The Earth Gazers,” by Christopher Potter, recently, I expected a feel-good story about the developments that led to the Apollo astronauts seeing, for the first time in history, the Earth in its entirety. I didn’t expect it to prompt thoughts about U.S. immigration policy. But it did.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions presented the Trump administration’s harsh new “zero tolerance” policy for border security earlier this year — the key feature of which was separating children from their parents — its stated justification was that it would be a deterrent to illegal crossings. Since then, we’ve learned that hundreds of children have been ripped apart from their parents, even though many of the families involved weren’t illegal border-crossers at all — they were families seeking asylum.

Read more from Winston-Salem Journal>>

Hispanic evangelicals are using their voices to fight for immigration reform

June 7, 2018

As the immigration debate heats up once again in Congress, among the clamor about border protection and migrant rights, the sanctity of the family should remain paramount in our dialogue. The tensions that have risen over the past month should not scuttle recent and real movement towards a solution.

This country is facing two phenomena: A growing interest and even frustration in border states across the country regarding border protections, which is compounded by the fact that the Hispanic population has grown to become the second-largest ethnic group in the U.S. and an increasingly important voter base.

Read more from The Hill>>

Organizations near and far take action against family separation

June 1, 2018 

Araceli Herrera clasped her hands together Friday evening as she and others in the San Antonio chapter of Domesticas Unidas, or United Domestic Workers, prayed for the hundreds of recently separated immigrant families.

“This is so that kids stop suffering and start appearing. We hope that the prayers will create a powerful movement for these children,” Herrera said in Spanish. “I hope people take action, and urge the government to help these children.”

Read more from San Antonio Express-News>>

Samuel Rodriguez, Russell Moore Ask Trump to Find a Way to Keep Immigrant Families Together

June 1, 2018 

Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Trump expressing concern over the new “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border that is dividing children from their parents.

The new policy, announced recently by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, already has separated hundreds of families, including those who are seeking asylum in the United States. In their letter, evangelical leaders urge the president to work with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider this “zero tolerance” policy and to provide due process to people seeking asylum.

Read more from Charisma News>>

Evangelicals are Big Refugee Supporters–or Not?

May 25, 2018 

Matthew Soerens has spent more than 10 years working with refugees and explaining their plight to evangelicals. In 2009, he co-wrote “Welcoming the Stranger; Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate,” and is currently updating it. As the US director for church mobilization for World Relief, he interacts daily with church leaders who want to minister to immigrants and refugees.

Read more from CBN News>>

Leading Evangelical Women Address Refugees, Family Separation, Dreamers

A recording of today’s call is available here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Prominent evangelical women from across the nation called for compassionate solutions to family separation and other pressing immigration challenges during a press call today.

Some of the speakers will join a delegation of evangelical women and men meeting with congressional offices Tuesday.

Speakers addressed the plight of refugees and others fleeing persecution ahead of World Refugee Day on Wednesday, as well as the importance of unified families and a solution for Dreamers. Thousands of evangelical women and hundreds of local pastors have signed on to a June 1 letter Evangelical Immigration Table leaders sent to President Trump, urging his administration to reverse the policy that separates families.

Despite a record number of refugees worldwide. the country is on pace to admit fewer than 22,000 refugees in 2018, down from nearly 100,000 in 2016 and more than 200,000 in 1980.

The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Jennifer Foy, Executive Director, World Relief Triad (High Point, N.C.):
“The dramatic decline in refugee admissions over the past year has directly contributed to the crisis we’re seeing at the border today. With far fewer opportunities to come lawfully as a refugee — after applying abroad and undergoing a thorough screening — more and more individuals facing very real threats of violence feel they have no choice but to make a difficult journey to the U.S. border to request asylum. That we’d then take their children from them is simply wrong.”

Kathryn Freeman, Director of Public Policy, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission:
“Each of the issues we discussed today — refugee resettlement, family separation along our border with Mexico, and Dreamers — are significant issues for Texas Baptists. I’m eager to share with Texas elected officials on Capitol Hill tomorrow why it’s so urgent that we find solutions.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“As a mother and a grandmother, I’m horrified by what our government is doing to children at the U.S.-Mexico border. We’re calling on the administration to reverse this ‘zero tolerance’ policy immediately, while also urging them to resume our nation’s historical role of leadership in resettling refugees.”

Helena Muliwa, former refugee from Burundi, resettled by World Relief Triad:
“I’m so thankful for this country for providing me, for the first time in 25 years, with a safe and secure place. While I’m grateful for my own sake, though, I’m mindful of the many other refugees, fleeing various conflicts around the world, who are not offered the same opportunity that I had. I’m praying our elected officials will listen.” 

Dr. Shirley Mullen, President, Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y.:
“Refugees are playing a key part in the economic and cultural revitalization of our northern cities like Buffalo and Utica. They are bringing to America in 2018 the same kind of renewing energy that refugees have always brought to America throughout its history. We strongly support the return to traditional higher levels of refugee resettlement. As we have worked to provide affordable and high-quality educational resources for refugees in Buffalo and Utica, we have found them to be among the most appreciative, energetic and grateful citizens of our country today. They are committed to investing in an America that will be better for all of us.”  

Trillia Newbell, Director for Community Engagement, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“For evangelicals, the Bible is our top authority. The Scriptures are clear that God loves and protects refugees and other immigrants. He cares for children. He made each person in his image, and their lives are worth protecting.” 

Kelly Rosati, Justice Liaison, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Whether we’re talking about families showing up at the border right now or Dreamers who were brought here decades ago, we all ought to be able to agree that we should not punish children for the actions of their parents. I personally think those parents are heroic, seeking to provide safety and a future for their kids. But, even for those who disagree, we ought all agree that we should not punish children for their parents’ decisions, nor use these kids’ as a political bargaining chip.”

Ava Steaffens, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“Having grown up in a family who came to the U.S. as refugees from Cuba, these issues are deeply important to me personally. For the thousands of local ministries that are a part of the Christian Community Development Association, these are concerns that affect us every day. I’m praying that our elected leaders will act quickly to reverse harmful administration policies that are diving families at the border and dramatically restricting the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and that Congress will work together on a bipartisan basis to find a permanent, inclusive solution for Dreamers without draconian cuts to legal immigration options.”

Southern Baptist Convention Reaffirms Support for Immigrants

DALLAS — The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming its support for immigrants and call for immigration reform during its annual meeting Tuesday.

The resolution highlights the importance of maintaining family unity, the need for a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants with appropriate restitutionary measures, and the importance of secure borders.

“I am grateful for the strong, unanimous vote of the Southern Baptist Convention in support of our immigrant neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ. I am grateful for the way that churches all around the country are ministering to immigrant communities,” said Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Now is the time for our country to act justly, to stop separating families, and to fix an immigration system that is hurting too many people in our country today.” The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table.

The resolution also calls upon Southern Baptist churches to actively minister to vulnerable immigrants and denounces “any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation [as] inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.” A separate resolution, also passed Tuesday, specifically reaffirms a 2016 call for “Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes.”

The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the nation’s largest evangelical denomination, last passed a resolution calling for immigration reform in 2011. As Tuesday’s resolution notes, “after seven years of continued policy gridlock, there have been no substantive changes in the immigration system that would make it more just, humane, efficient, and orderly.”

Other leaders within the Evangelical Immigration Table added their support for the SBC resolution:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
The Southern Baptist Convention got it right about immigration reform taking too long.  Government hears pleas and debates recommendations but keeps postponing to future years while so many children and families keeping waiting.

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Southern Baptists and other evangelicals have long advocated for immigration reform consistent with biblical values of compassion, family unity, and respect for the rule of law. This new resolution re-affirms that evangelicals continue to stand with immigrants. In the midst of a number of troubling changes to US immigration policy, I’m encouraged that evangelical Christians are speaking up clearly for the dignity of our immigrant brothers, sisters, and neighbors.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“We commend our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ for their reaffirmation of the value and dignity of immigrants, their call for a just and equitable immigration system, and their encouragement for churches to serve their local immigrant communities. We pray Congress will act to fix our broken immigration system so that it reflects these values and most immediately provides a permanent, legislative solution for Dreamers — beloved children of God.”

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment (formerly Korean Churches for Community Development):
“The Southern Baptist Convention’s resolution on immigrants is a powerful testament to who we are and what we are called to do as believers.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“I’m so grateful to the Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention for this powerful resolution. I look forward to how we will all work together making this resolution a reality in the lives of millions of immigrants and refugees who will experience the love, hope and a future through the servants of Jesus Christ.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Hispanic evangelicals — including many Southern Baptists as well as many in other denominations — are grateful for this very strong, unanimous resolution from the Southern Baptist Convention this week, clearly affirming both the urgency of immigration reform and the call on all Christians to extend God’s love to the immigrants in our midst.”

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