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Evangelical Leaders Urge White House, Congress to Protect Dreamers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Evangelical Immigration Table sent letters to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to urge protection for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) while Congress works on a permanent legislative solution.

“These young people have shown through their great determination and fortitude that our nation is better off because of their presence. They are leading in our churches and our communities,” they write. “They are studying in our universities and creating jobs for American workers. They are paying taxes. We hope that you will work to find solutions that allow these young people to stay in our country long-term and continue to be a blessing to our communities.”

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table principals:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The Bible has a definite protection for children who were under age 20 when their parents chose immigration to the Promised Land for them (Numbers 14). Let’s follow the Bible’s precedent and protect those whose parents chose for them to immigrate to today’s Promised Land of America.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“As followers of Jesus, we believe that advocating for this legislation is an important way to tangibly love our neighbors and to stand in solidarity with the many in the U.S. whose livelihoods depend upon this program.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“As educators who believe that every human is made in the image of God and thus is endowed with dignity from their Creator, we want to support ambitious, driven, intelligent students who have dreams of contributing to their communities and want to pursue an education. We do not believe they should be disqualified from doing so because of acts they did not commit. These are inequities that must be remedied.”

Hyepin Im, CEO, Korean Christian Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:
“40 percent of California Dreamers alone are Asian American and Pacific Islanders. We ask that President Trump honor his past assurances and work with Congress to keep the dream alive for so many of these promising youths who know America as their only home. It is the right thing to do.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:
“These young people are the pride and future of our nation.  We cannot lose them.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“It is long past time for Congress to work together to find a workable solution for our broken immigration system — especially for the hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to our country by their parents. Many of these Dreamers have stepped forward in good faith. Congress should respond with a legislative solution that delivers on the promises made to these men and women and protects them from perpetual uncertainty. Let’s pray for a fair solution that highlights both justice and compassion.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

“Dreamers are not bargaining chips, they are America’s sons and daughters, and right now, they urgently need our support. NHCLC has worked diligently, often behind closed doors, urging the president to move away from his campaign promise to rescind DACA on day one. The human toll that will be unleashed by rescinding DACA is potentially devastating. This is, and always has been, an issue centered upon the sanctity of human life. As a pastor, I cannot sit idly by while the federal government threatens to forcibly separate families by deportation. In the Scriptures, we read the timeless words, ‘Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ (Mark 10:9) It is no individual’s or government’s place to rip families apart, let alone millions of them. The scope of this crisis is simply breathtaking. If the president breaks his promise to us to protect these children, they should be prepared for a mass exodus of the administration’s Hispanic support. Even the most conservative among us will not sacrifice our children on the altar of political expediency. Let me be clear, should they decide to do so, we will oppose them.”

Pastors and evangelical leaders are also signing on to these letters! Join this effort at bit.ly/EITDreamerLetter.

PRESS RELEASE: Evangelical Leaders: Protect Iraqi Christians from Deportation

June 19, 2017

In a letter to the Trump administration today, evangelical leaders are calling for a halt to deportations of Iraqi Christians.

“We write urgently and with grave concern that Christians will be removed from the United States to face potential persecution, and even potential death, in the Middle East,” begins the letter from leaders of Evangelical Immigration Table organizations.

The letter, addressed to Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, includes a request that the administration defer the deportation of Chaldean Christians until Iraq’s government “proves willing and capable of protecting the rights of religious minorities.”

It also quotes Vice President Mike Pence speaking about how Christians in Iraq have been targeted.

The full letter is available here.

Resource: Preaching God’s Heart for Immigrants & Refugees

June 2017

Preaching God’s Heart for Immigrants & Refugees

Click on the above link for a resource created for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting with contributions from:

  • Miguel Ecchevarria, Director of Hispanic Leadership Development, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Keelan Cook, Sr. Church Consultant, Union Baptist Association (Houston, TX)
  • Jonathan Akin, Director of Young Leader Engagement, NAMB, Former Pastor, Fairview Church, Lebanon, TN
  • Alan Cross, Missional Strategist, Montgomery (AL) Baptist Association
  • SBC Resolutions on Immigrant and Refugee Ministry, 2011 and 2015

This and other Evangelical Perspectives on Immigration represent one evangelical perspective on immigration—that of the authors—and not necessarily the views of every member organization of the Evangelical Immigration Table or every signatory of the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform.

April 2017 Prayer Partner Story

 

April 28, 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

I was born in what was then Sudan, now part of South Sudan. When I was young, I lived in a village called Renk with my family. We were very happy. Then, a war broke out in Sudan between the rebel movement, which was fighting for Sudan to have a democratic government, and the ruling government, which wanted to enforce religious Muslim laws.

One day the government and the rebels came to our village and starting shooting in the town. We fled our home village and traveled to Khartoum, the capital, where I went to a Muslim school.  Despite my attendance at this school, the government began targeting me because they knew I was Christian.

My family and I fled to Egypt, which is where we became refugees. It was painful to think about my city being attacked during the war and very hard to see people being killed, having to flee, and becoming separated from their families. You ask yourself: Why? Is all of this violence and hate truly because we believe in Christ?

We applied to be resettled in the United States and were accepted. It was a great opportunity but also a very fearful moment for me: We were going to a strange place, where I didn’t know anybody, and I was very scared.

We took two long plane rides to Florida. When we arrived in Florida, my heart soared. The people welcoming us were strangers, but they came with a big banner, American flags, shouting “Welcome to America” and hugging us. In that moment, the fear of a strange new place was replaced by a feeling almost like we had family and friends here already. Even our apartment was ready and food was prepared for our first dinner.

Our home of Sudan had given us nothing but persecution and violence, and now in a strange place we were welcomed with love and in the spirit of Christ. This was a moment that will resonate in my mind and in our family’s mind forever. When I think about the role of the church, I always think about how cared for and loved my family felt when we arrived.

Now I work serving refugees in Christ’s name, and I am so thankful that I can do for other refugees what was done for me.

Please join me in prayer:

  • For the estimated 21.3 million refugees in the world today, each one made in the image of God with inherent dignity and potential, that God would protect their lives.
  • For the many refugees who are persecuted particularly because of their Christian faith, that God would strengthen and reward them.
  • For refugees persecuted for other reasons — whether political opinions, ethnicity, religion, or another reason — that they would be welcomed and protected in the countries to which they flee.
  • For refugees resettled into the United States, that local churches would continue to welcome them and that public policies would allow for refugees to continue to be welcomed.

Thank you,

Nhial Kou Dinka

Resettlement Specialist

World Relief, Jacksonville, Florida


Queridos amigos en Cristo,

Nací en lo que fue una vez Sudán y que ahora forma parte de Sudán del Sur. Cuando era joven, vivía con mi familia en una aldea llamada Renk. Éramos muy felices. Pero entonces estalló una guerra en el país entre el movimiento rebelde, que estaba luchando para que Sudán tuviera un gobierno democrático, y el gobierno, que quería hacer cumplir las leyes religiosas musulmanas.

Un día el gobierno y los rebeldes vinieron a nuestra aldea y empezaron a disparar en el pueblo. Nuestra familia abandonó el lugar y nos trasladamos a Khartoum, la capital, en donde asistí a una escuela musulmana. A pesar de que yo asistía a esa escuela, el gobierno comenzó a acosarme porque sabía que yo era cristiano.

Así que mi familia y yo volamos a Egipto en donde nos convertimos en refugiados. Es muy doloroso pensar en mi ciudad atacada por la guerra y más difícil aun ver gente asesinada, o teniendo que escapar y separarse de su familia. Así que uno se pregunta ¿por qué pasa todo esto? ¿Es todo este odio y violencia solo porque creemos en Cristo?

Nuestra familia aplicó para restablecerse en los Estados Unidos y fuimos aceptados. Fue una gran oportunidad, pero al mismo tiempo un momento en el que me sentí muy temeroso; estábamos yendo a un lugar extraño en el que no conocía a nadie y yo estaba muy asustado.

Tomamos dos largos vuelos hasta llegar a Florida. Cuando llegamos, mi corazón se estremeció. Las personas que nos recibieron eran extraños, pero llegaron con una gran pancarta, banderas americanas y, abrazándonos, gritaban: “¡Bienvenidos a América!”. En ese momento, el miedo a un lugar desconocido fue reemplazado por un sentimiento como si casi ya tuviéramos amigos y familia en este lugar. Incluso nuestro apartamento ya estaba listo con alimentos preparados para nuestra primera cena.

Nuestro hogar en Sudán solo nos ha dado persecución y violencia, y ahora, en un lugar desconocido éramos recibidos con amor en el Espíritu de Cristo. Este fue un momento que quedará para siempre en mi mente y en la de mi familia. Cuando pienso en el papel de la Iglesia, siempre recuerdo cuánto cuidado y amor recibimos cuando llegamos.

Ahora yo trabajo ayudando a los refugiados en nombre de Cristo y me siento muy agradecido de que pueda hacer por otros lo que antes hicieron por mí.

Por favor, únanse conmigo en la Oración para que:

  • Dios proteja las vidas de cada uno de los más de 21.3 millones de refugiados que hay en el mundo hoy, hechos a imagen de Él con un inherente potencial y dignidad.
  • Dios pueda fortalecer y premiar a los muchos refugiados que son perseguidos particularmente por su Fe Cristiana.
  • Sean bienvenidos y protegidos en los países a los que viajan los refugiados perseguidos por otras razones, sean estas políticas, étnicas, religiosas o por cualquier otra causa.
  • Las iglesias locales puedan continuar dando la bienvenida a los refugiados que se restablecen en los Estados Unidos, y para que las políticas públicas permitan a estos refugiados ser bienvenidos.

Gracias,

Nhial Kou Dinka

Especialista en Reasentamiento

World Relief, Jacksonville, Florida

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