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Kelly Rosati: Will you stand with kids?

I’ve spent my career advocating for vulnerable children.

For many years, I served as Vice President of Child Advocacy at Focus on the Family helping the church step up for children in foster care waiting for permanent families. And, I’m on the board of the national March for Life, because I believe that each human life is made in God’s image.
 
But I’m not writing in those capacities—those are just to give you a bit of my background. I’m writing as a mom, which is my most important role.

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Local Pastors Decry Family Separation, Echoing National Evangelical Leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of evangelical Christians across the country, including about 200 local pastors and ministry leaders, have added their names to a letter denouncing policies that divide children from their parents.

National evangelical leaders sent the letter to President Trump Friday, as Christianity Today, CBN, the Arizona Republic, the San Antonio Express-News and others have reported.

“We are concerned that the new ‘zero tolerance’ policy at the U.S.-Mexico border … has had the effect of separating vulnerable children from their parents,” the letter reads. “The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern.”

The letter also urges the president to resume a robust refugee resettlement program. The U.S. is on track to resettle 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 local evangelical leaders who have signed on to the letter:

Laurie and Kenton Beshore, Lead Pastors, Mariners Church, Orange County, California:
“Evangelical Christians have a range of political beliefs when it comes to immigration issues, but one thing that unites us is a biblically-informed view that God has established families and that we should do all we can to protect children. It’s wrong to separate small children from their mothers and fathers who are seeking asylum under the terms of our laws. Doing so could have long-term traumatic impacts on these children. I hope and pray that our nation will reverse course on this policy.”

Sam Creagar, Pastor of Outreach, Faith Evangelical Free Church, Manhattan, Kansas:
“My faith and my conscience lead me to believe a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that separates children from their families is wrong. I know border security is difficult and I understand that our nation’s laws must be enforced for the common good, but justice without discretion leads to cruelty, tyranny, and ultimately injustice.”

Lauren Fernandez, Pastor, Rhythm Church, Miami, Florida
“As followers of Jesus, we believe that God calls us to extend compassion for the suffering. The reasons Central America families, many of whom I call friends, travel to the border and seek asylum are complex. When we’ve reached the point of tearing children from their mothers as they arrive at the border, as is the effect of this new ‘zero tolerance’ policy, we’ve clearly gone too far and we have completely missed God’s call to suffer with others. My prayers are our leaders will extend mercy on the families and create justice through reformed immigration policies.”

Leslie Leyland Fields, Writer and Speaker, Kodiak, Alaska:
“As a mother of six, and as a Christian, I have to speak up against this wrong-headed ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy. Wars are raging around the world, and this is what we focus our power and influence on: separating families? Evicting, dividing and destroying our weakest and neediest neighbors? This is the furthest thing possible from the gospel.”

Chris Sicks, Associate Pastor, Alexandria Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, Virginia:
“The nuclear family was ordained by God as the strong foundation of a society. When the zeal to enforce a valid man-made law knowingly causes innocent children harm, it violates eternal moral law.”

Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, New Hampshire:
“The current policy of separating children from their families at the border violates a biblical principle of protecting the family unit and tries to impose a false justice upon innocent children who have no voice in decisions made for them. As a Christian pastor I am called to help protect and heal families with God’s grace and mercy, not punish them.”

 

Evangelical Leaders Urge President Trump to Keep Families Together

June 1, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.

Signatories also urge the president to work with the U.S. State Department to resume a robust U.S. refugee resettlement program, which in the past has allowed those with a credible fear of persecution to apply for refugee status abroad and enter lawfully, after a thorough vetting process, without making a dangerous trip to the U.S. border to request asylum.

“As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instances,” the letter states.

The Evangelical Immigration Table also opened up the letter today for local pastors and other evangelical leaders to add their names. If you are an evangelical leader, you can add your name here.

The following are quotes today from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders who signed the letter:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The Bible says that families came first and government later. Let’s not buck the Bible by separating families.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“I’m deeply troubled that as families fleeing persecution reach our border, children are being separated from their parents. I know that President Trump doesn’t want to separate families, either, and I pray he’ll do all he can to reverse these policies as well as to ensure that the U.S. refugee resettlement program continues to allow vulnerable, persecuted families to be carefully vetted abroad and then rebuild their lives in the U.S. without needing to make a dangerous journey to our border.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“We as a nation are still bearing the pains and consequences of broken families as a result of war, slavery, divorce, immigration policies and other matters. It is tragic to inflict unnecessary pain by separating children from parents because of manmade rules … I pray that God will give wisdom to President Trump and our nation’s leaders to create the right policies that do not repeat the mistakes of the past but can protect our nation while leaving room to address and respond to humanitarian needs.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“Americans are divided politically, but this issue is beyond politics. Any of us can imagine the terror that strikes a child separated from her mother or father, and the despair of a mother whose child has been taken from her. It’s vital that we respect our country’s longstanding asylum laws, that we do all we can to keep families together, and that we resume our history of welcoming refugees.”

Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“As Christians who care deeply about protecting families and children, we reject the idea that separating children from parents is a sensible component of any immigration policy. As Christians, we affirm both the rule of law and compassion for the vulnerable. Splitting up families is not in the best interests of the United States. American policy, even immigration policy, should promote the flourishing of families.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“President Trump is a father and a grandfather, and I know he cares about families, including immigrant families. He also rightly cares about securing our borders. I believe he can find ways to both keep immigrant families together and protect American families from those who would do harm, and many Hispanic evangelicals are praying for him as he addresses these vital policy decisions.”

Rich Stearns, President, World Vision U.S.
“While the U.S. needs to address real concerns about our immigration system, approaches must be family-centered and child-focused,” said Rich Stearns, President and CEO of World Vision. “The single most important relationship for all children, especially those at risk of violence or in high stress situations, is that of a parent.  Separating children from their parents can have a devastating long-term effect on children’s mental, physical, and emotional development.”

Christianity is a Refugee Story – Kevin Singer

Christianity is a Refugee Story

By Kevin Singer
May 29, 2018

If you are a Christian, you are part of a refugee story. You join the ranks of Abraham, who took a dangerous journey from his homeland of Ur to the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1), Joseph, who was carried into Egypt after being sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:25-28), and Moses, who fled to the wilderness of Midian after he took the life of a brutal Egyptian slave master (Exodus 2:11-15). Each of these acknowledged that they were “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Heb. 11:13, ESV). Jesus Himself was at one time refugee in Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15), and the Apostle Paul reminded the Philippians that their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).

This isn’t to mention that the entire Biblical narrative of God’s people is one of chronic exile. It began when Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Garden of Eden and face the uncertainties of life outside (Genesis 3:23). Before God delivered the Promised Land to His chosen people, due to famine they arrived as refugees in Egypt (Gen. 47:27). After hundreds of years of slavery, they were liberated by God only to be refugees for another 40 years in the desert (Num. 32:13). Then came exile in Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-16) and exile in Assyria (2 Kings 17:5-6). After the resurrection of Christ, it wasn’t long before the early church was forced to disperse from Jerusalem because of Saul’s oppression and the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1-4, Acts 11:19). The New Testament contains letters written by James and Peter that are addressed to “the twelve tribes in dispersion” and “to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes in vivid detail the pains of exile and offers a word of hope:

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World Refugee Day Events Washington, DC – June 19, 2018

On June 19, the Evangelical Immigration Table will welcome pastors, ministry leaders, and former refugees to Washington, DC to advocate for a more robust US response to the global refugee crisis.

Each year, June 20 is recognized as World Refugee Day, an opportunity to call attention to the plight of individuals who have been forced to flee their countries because of persecution. In 2018, at a moment when there are more refugees globally than at any point in recorded history, the United States government has dramatically retreated from welcoming refugees: the US State Department is currently on track to resettle less than 21,000 refugees this year, down from more than 96,000 as recently as 2016 and more than 200,000 in 1980. Refugees of all faith backgrounds—including persecuted Christians, whose arrival numbers have declined more than 60% since 2016—have far fewer opportunities to find safety in the US than in recent years.

American churches, which have long played a central role in the welcome and long-term integration of newly arrived refugees, now have far fewer opportunities to live out the biblical commands to love, serve, and reach newly arrived refugees. At the same time, families arriving at a U.S. border to seek asylum under the terms of U.S. law are facing new challenges, including the threat of children being detained separately from their parents.

World Refugee Day presents an important opportunity to raise our voices on behalf of and in concert with refugees and others fleeing persecution.  Will you join us?

Where: On and/or near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

When: Tuesday, June 19

Tentative Schedule:

  • 9 AM – Advocacy Training for all participants
  • 10 AM to 5 PM – Pre-scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill with elected officials and/or their staff

Ideal Participants:

Evangelical Christians who are passionate about advocating for and with refugees, including urging elected officials to leverage their influence to ensure that refugees continue to be welcomed to the United States.

Costs: We unfortunately are not able to cover travel costs, so you will be responsible for your own air or ground transportation to Washington, D.C. as well as accommodations and food other than breakfast, which will be provided on the 19th

To register, please email info@evangelicalimmigrationtable.com with your name, email, phone number, organization, professional title and congressional district. You can look up your congressional district by entering your zip code here. Due to space constraints, we may need to limit the number of participants.

Jairo de Oliveira: Refugee Ministry in Columbia, SC

By Jairo de Oliveira

In August 2016 I moved to Columbia, South Carolina, with my family (wife and son) to study at Columbia International University. A few months after our arrival we got an invitation to visit the Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church. The church had a new pastor, Rev. Robert Turner. Due to his previous ministry experience in Turkey with Iranian and Iraqi refugees, Rev. Turner decided to embrace the refugees in Columbia and invited us to join hands in the ministry.

The church started the refugee ministry on October 30, 2016, embracing 29 Syrians from 4 different families. Later, Iraqi and Congolese refugees were added to the group, raising the number of refugees to over 40 people.

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Evangelical Leaders Urge Passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to members of Congress in support of the Adoptee Citizenship Act, a bipartisan bill to ensure that adopted children of U.S. citizen parents are recognized as U.S. citizens.

The bill seeks to address a loophole in current law: under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most children adopted from foreign countries by U.S. citizen parents are guaranteed U.S. citizenship, but an estimated 35,000 adoptees who were already 18 years or older when this law went into effect were not included. As a result, though children of U.S. citizen parents, these individuals lack the benefits of U.S. citizenship and in rare cases could even be subject to deportation.

“As Christians, we are called by God to care for both orphans and immigrants. Fulfilling this mandate is among our highest callings,” the leaders write. “We strongly believe that these adoptees, who are American in every way except their immigration status, should gain the rights and protections of U.S. citizenship.”

The letter concludes: “We hope that you will take swift action to reduce the pain and fear these individuals and their families face every day, and strengthen our country’s tradition of providing safety and refuge to adoptees born outside our borders.”

The following are quotes today from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders who signed the letter:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Adoptees get new birth certificates with the names of their citizen parents. Congress needs to stand behind these legal birth certificates with citizenship for all adoptees. Ask just about anyone on any street if children adopted by U.S. citizens become citizens themselves. They will say, ‘Of course they become citizens.’ Let’s make what everyone knows is right into the law of our land. Legal adoptions must include citizenship.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Adoption is an expression of love and compassion and historically recognized by Republicans and Democrats alike as good for the child, the family and our national character. We urge Congress to address this gap in current law to extend the right of citizenship to those adopted by U.S. citizens.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Family is a cornerstone of American society, and adoptees are no less a part of their families, their communities, or our nation, whatever their country of birth. Congress recognized this when it passed the Child Citizenship Act in 2000. Congress should now act quickly to address the loophole that has prevented 35,000 adoptees from obtaining U.S. citizenship.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“This bill is long due. The full promise of America was made to adoptees including so many from South Korea. It has been a travesty to have so many who grew up as Americans discover later in their lives that they were not full citizens. We urge Congress to pass this bill and deliver its promises made to these adoptees.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“In the Hebrew Scriptures, there are three groups of vulnerable people mentioned repeatedly as individuals of special concern to God, whom he loves and whom he commands his people to love: the widow, the orphan and the immigrant. With the Adoptee Citizenship Act, Congress has an opportunity to correct a loophole that has exacerbated the vulnerability of individuals who have been both orphans and immigrants. Our laws should clearly affirm that adopted children belong in our country every bit as much as biological children born to U.S. citizen parents.”

Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“International adoptees, and those of us who are their families and friends, are grateful for the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018. We encourage Congress to provide a permanent legal remedy for the thousands of sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who were left in the gap of uncertainty.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I am thankful for this bipartisan, bicameral bill to close a loophole which has left the immigration status of far too many international adoptees in limbo. Our hope and prayer is that this small but important bill can expeditiously become law and inspire congressional action on much broader immigration legislation that our country greatly needs, especially a permanent solution for Dreamers and securing our borders.”

Trump Kills DACA on Easter Morning

April 2, 2018

President Donald Trump said on Easter that there will be no deal for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which seeks to offer a solution to hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing deportation. He noted that countries like Mexico are “laughing” at the United States.

Critics, including Ohio Governor John Kasich, blasted Trump in response for taking away hopes from “innocent children,” and for failing to understand how DACA works.

Read more from Christian Post>>

From Samuel Rodriguez to Russell Moore, Christian Leaders Beg the Nation to Engage in Prayer

March 8, 2018

Major Christian leaders from Samuel Rodriguez to Russell Moore have called on the nation to pray as the White House mulls a solution to immigrant children who were illegally brought into the United States. The children, known as Dreamers, are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by former President Barack Obama in 2012. Last September, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, citing March 5 as the deadline.

Read More from Charisma Caucus>>

Christian Leaders Launch Prayer Campaign for Dreamers; Call on Congress to Act as DACA Expires

March 7, 2018

The Evangelical Immigration Table is calling on Christians to pray for those affected by the expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

On Monday, the DACA program expired, six months after the Trump administration had announced that they were ending the program in the expectation that Congress enact legislation to help the children of illegal immigrants, known as Dreamers.

Read more from BCNN1>>

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