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Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

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.”

Evangelical Leaders Urge Passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act

April 19, 2018

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.”

Evangelicals Engage in Prayer for Dreamers

Leaders Urge Congress to Pass a Solution

March 5, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders are calling upon Christians to pray for Dreamers and urging Congress to resume negotiations to reach a permanent solution.

March 5 is the date that the administration set in September for the final termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Throughout the country, Christians are praying this week for Dreamers, their families, members of Congress, and the president. Along with Voices of Christian Dreamers, the Evangelical Immigration Table has prepared a Prayer Guide to help encourage people to pray.

While court decisions have allowed many DACA beneficiaries to file for renewal of their work authorization and protection from deportation, thousands still could lose their protections because renewal applications take several weeks or even months to process.

The result: Law-abiding employers would be required to lay off employees, and Dreamers and their families would face a sudden disruption of income and the risk of deportation.

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“The gift of delay has been given to 700,000-plus who are caught in the politics of the DACA dilemma. But a few months of reprieve are not enough. Congress and the White House need to give the gift of permanent status to dreamers.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“The Bible instructs us to ‘pray without ceasing,’ and specifically to pray for those in positions of governmental leadership. Our elected officials in Washington, D.C., need divine wisdom and courage to accomplish what has thus far eluded them, reaching a bipartisan consensus that will allow DACA beneficiaries and other Dreamers to earn permanent legal status and citizenship in the country they consider their home.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Many students on Christian college and university campuses throughout the United States are Dreamers, immigrants brought to this country as children. They are campus leaders and classmates, teammates and mentors. If Congress fails to pass a permanent, legislative solution that addresses the rescission of the DACA program, not only these students, but their families, friends, educational institutions, employers, and religious communities will suffer for it. We continue to pray that Congress will act wisely, justly, and swiftly.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“As Dreamers throughout the country confront an uncertain future, Christians are uniting in prayer with and for them, asking God to intervene at what seems to be a political stalemate. While court decisions in recent days mean short-term relief for some, the long-term consequences of congressional inaction are stark. My prayer is that they will come together quickly, on a bipartisan basis, to find a solution that protects Dreamers and keeps families together.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“We’re not just praying today for Dreamers—we have been praying for months and will continue to pray. Our faith is in a God who is larger than any political impasse. We’re asking Him to intervene on behalf of these young people who have been such a blessing to our churches, our communities, and the nation.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“There is absolutely zero excuse for failing to provide a solution for Dreamers. Every week that Congress does not act, men and women created in the image of God will lose legal protections and work authorization. Families will face the risk of being torn apart. Let’s pray for and petition our elected leaders to find a way forward from this totally avoidable crisis and for our churches as they care for our neighbors in this new stage of uncertainty.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“The wellbeing of Dreamers must not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Our elected officials urgently need to resolve the status of DACA recipients and other Dreamers—and Hispanic evangelicals will be praying fervently for them until they do, while also praying for Dreamers, their families, and others directly affected by congressional inaction.”

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Evangelical Leaders Urge Congress to Preserve Family Reunification Options

February 15, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to members of Congress urging them against making dramatic cuts to legal family reunification programs within U.S. immigration law.

While celebrating progress in the U.S. Senate toward a legislative solution for the young immigrants known as Dreamers, evangelical leaders defended longstanding family reunification programs, noting that opportunities already are limited to close family members of U.S. citizens and not extended family such as grandparents, uncles or aunts, or cousins.

“Simply put, the misleading idea that immigrants bring an unlimited chain of extended family members with them to our country is false,” they write. “The existing family sponsorship categories are limited and, we believe, should remain in place to preserve the unity of families.”

The letter concludes: “We urge you to work on a bipartisan basis to find a permanent solution that allows Dreamers to earn citizenship in the only country they have known as home, achieves lasting border security improvements for the safety of our country and the integrity of our immigration laws, and avoids making dramatic cuts to existing laws for family reunification.”

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

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Mom, Dad, brother, sister, family — these are those we know best and love most. Let’s keep families together.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“We are encouraged by the growing, bipartisan recognition of the need to find a durable legislative solution for Dreamers. We urge Congress to act now on their behalf and to also maintain our historic commitment to the reunification of close family members, protecting the God-ordained family structure as a matter of both compassion and national interest.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Families and family support are the values we uphold as humanity and as a country. Numerous studies have shown strong families make our communities and our country stronger socially and economically. We lift you up in prayers to do the right and good thing for our country and our conscience.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“Since creation, family has been the bedrock of a fruitful society. All members of a family will flourish when they are united and supporting each other resulting in a strong nation.”

Additional signatories to the letter include Dr. Russell Moore (President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention), Rev. Samuel Rodriguez (President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference), and Shirley Hoogstra (President, Council of Christian Colleges and Universities).

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Evangelical Leaders Respond to White House Immigration Framework

January 29, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders issued a statement in response to the White House framework for immigration legislation.

The signatories thank President Trump for supporting an opportunity for Dreamers to earn citizenship, while also emphasizing the need for family unity, the value of existing legal immigration pathways and the importance of prioritizing a solution for Dreamers, rather than addressing too much in one bill.

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

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“It’s time for us all to become Dreamers. It’s time for Congress to make the Dreamers have their dreams finally come true. When Congress turns DACA into law, it will be an answer to a million prayers.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“I’m encouraged by the president’s call for an earned path to citizenship for Dreamers. I’m concerned by the potential for significant cuts to legal immigration options, including restrictions on existing processing to reunite immediate family members. I hope this will serve as a starting point, not the final word, from which Congress will work together on a bipartisan basis to reach a consensus.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“The White House is to be congratulated for pushing the right result for Dreamers. Christian colleges and universities are blessed by these students who love to learn, want to give back to America and show inspiring courage in the face of insecurity. We encourage Congress to reflect America’s highest ideals as they grapple with competing interests and pray that they will do so with wisdom, imagination and courage. As a grandchild of immigrants, I believe in an America that gives a hope and a future to individuals and families who desire to overcome enormous obstacles to flourish in a new country, which I believe should include, the tired, the poor, those yearning to breathe free.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Dreamers are our investment and very much part of America. It is our loss to lose them. We pray for wisdom, fortitude and creativity for President Trump and our Congress members to find a pathway to hope and citizenship for Dreamers and safety for our country.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“The Wesleyan Church remains committed to serving and advocating for all immigrants in our communities, including Dreamers. While we have concerns with some of the other parts of this White House framework on immigration, we are thankful to see the president’s willingness to promote a pathway to citizenship for a significant proportion of the Dreamer population. We will continue to pray for wisdom and courage for those in the administration and in Congress working on this issue.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“I’m pleased to see the White House offer a framework for Dreamers. I’m especially glad it outlines a path to citizenship. This is a good starting point for Congress to get to work. Our immigration system has been broken for too long, and it’s well past time to pass a permanent solution.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“We stand at the precipice of achieving a permanent solution for Dreamers, and both sides of the immigration debate must be willing to make a compromise to get the job done. While there are certainly aspects of this proposal either party may disagree on, there is also much they can celebrate. Let us accomplish a bold and lasting solution for childhood arrivals, and yes, let us deliver enhanced border security too. In the spirit of compromise, with so many lives and families hanging in the balance, I strongly urge Congress to not let this historic opportunity slip away, but instead embrace a compromise that history will record as a righteous victory for our nation.”

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

January 14, 2018

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

January 9, 2018

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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Evangelical Leaders to DHS: Extend Temporary Protected Status

November 1, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today Evangelical Immigration Table leaders sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security calling for the extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador.

Ahead of a Sunday TPS extension deadline for Honduras and Nicaragua and with the other countries’ deadlines looming, signatories are asking DHS to give Congress time, via an extension, to reform the TPS program and provide a long-term solution.

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table principals:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Jesus celebrated the Good Samaritan for giving temporary protected status to a stranger who was in life-threatening circumstances without help. Extending TPS to those America has protected in the past helps make the USA into a Good Samaritan country.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“As World Relief and our partner churches serve immigrants in communities throughout the U.S., we have had the opportunity to help many Central American and Haitian individuals to apply for and to renew their TPS status. We have seen the profound difference that this access to work authorization and protection from deportation has made in their lives, and the ways that they in turn have contributed back to their churches and communities. At the same time, as we partner with local churches outside of the U.S., we witness firsthand the tenuous situation that many of these countries are in, which could be further destabilized if TPS were to be withdrawn now. I’m praying both that Congress will act to permanently resolve this situation and that the Department of Homeland Security will renew these designations in the meantime.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“In the wake of unimaginable natural and human disasters that rendered their countries of origin unsafe, individuals with Temporary Protected Status have put down roots here. They have contributed to, and continue to contribute to, our society by forming families and strengthening our economy as students, workers, entrepreneurs and consumers. Extending Temporary Protected Status is the right thing to do for both the American economy and for American families.”

Hyepin Im, CEO, Korean Christian Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Much like in the situation of the Dreamers who have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and now risk losing work authorization and becoming vulnerable to deportation, individuals who have been granted TPS have acted in good faith at the invitation of the federal government, paying fees, passing multiple criminal background checks, and working to provide for their families. In my state of California alone, there are more than 50,000 individuals with TPS, and to withdraw that status now would harm not only them, but the communities of which they are a part.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:
“Throughout the Bible, God makes very clear that He cares for vulnerable immigrants — and He commands His people to do the same. I’m grateful that our country offered protections to the roughly 300,000 individuals who presently benefit from TPS when their respective countries faced humanitarian catastrophes. Even though many years have passed since those initial designations, each of these countries has faced additional challenges more recently: El Salvador and Honduras have among the highest murder rates in the world, and Nicaragua and Haiti, the two poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, have recently been hit by serious hurricanes. To send so many people back to these situations right now would be inhumane, and I hope our government will make a way for these individuals to continue to live and work lawfully within the United States.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“It is not in the best interest of a society to separate families, or to force them into volatile situations. And yet, fears of such are exactly what many immigrants who have been granted TPS feel — men and women who have come forward by invitation of our government, obeyed the law, and contributed much to our churches and society. It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken and that reforms are needed. I’m eager to work with Congress to work toward needed change that would balance security and compassion. But in the meantime, I very much hope Acting Secretary Duke will renew TPS for these individuals.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“The tens of thousands of congregations that make up the NHCLC include many, many individuals whose lives and livelihoods depend upon having been granted TPS. These are individuals who have passed repeated background checks, who have provided for themselves and their families, and who are vital parts of the Church in the United States. Given the harsh conditions that persist in their countries of origin, now is not the time to withdraw TPS.”

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Evangelical Letters of Support for Dreamers Draw 3,450 Signatories

Signers Hail from All 50 States and Washington, D.C.

September 14, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Thousands throughout the country agree: We need workable solutions for Dreamers in our churches and communities.

More than 3,450 pastors and evangelical leaders representing every state now have signed on to letters urging the Trump administration and members of Congress to protect Dreamers.

Leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table initially signed the letters to the president, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to push for a legislative solution to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

“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,” they wrote. “Now is the time for bold leadership and action.”

The following are new quotes from notable signatories. Additional quotes are available here and here.

Felix Cabrera, Lead Pastor, Iglesia Bautista Central, Oklahoma City:
“Miles de nuestras iglesias en la Convención Bautista del Sur están llenas de maravillosos jóvenes que el único país que conocen es Estados Unidos de América. Sus padres los trajeron aquí cuando eran niños. Ellos no escogieron ni decidieron venir aquí, nadie les preguntó. Sin embargo, en este país se asimilaron, aprendieron el idioma, fueron a la escuela, están en la universidad y muchos se graduaron de ella y son profesionales. La inmensa mayoría están trabajando y aportando a nuestra economía y un grupo considerable pone en riesgo su vida todos los días en el ejército de los Estados Unidos, gracias al DACA.

“Ruego al Señor que los congresistas hagan lo correcto y de una vez y por todas presenten legislación para que a estos jóvenes americanos su sueño se les haga realidad.”

Joseph Castleberry, Ed.D., President, Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington:
“In its greatest moments, America has never prized a narrow, legalistic reading of laws over achieving justice. In the case of Dreamers, a bipartisan majority clearly believes justice calls for the triumph of mercy over judgment. By passing a law that provides permanent protection for Dreamers, we will take a step toward making a bitterly divided America great again.”

Micah Fries, Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee:
“I am glad to stand in support of Dreamers. As believers in Christ, Scripture calls us to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable and marginalized. Few are more marginalized than children who did not decide to live here, but now call this their home, and yet are powerless with respect to their citizenship and fearful of being deported to a place they have likely never known as home. We certainly need a better immigration policy in the U.S., but it must begin with a commitment to protect the children who are most vulnerable and who are already among us. The work of protecting the Dreamers necessarily falls to Congress. It is vitally important that Congress works to provide a permanent solution and that they do so in a timely manner.”

D.A. Horton, Pastor, Reach Fellowship, Long Beach, California:
“Congress passing bipartisan legislation for Dreamers to have a direct pathway for citizenship will provide them with holistic comfort in knowing the only nation they’ve ever known and embraced now knows and embraces them as family and will let the on-looking world know that in America, Dreamers are home.”

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Pastor, Northland Church, and Chairman, Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, Casselberry, Florida:
“The president’s decision on DACA has put the issue exactly where it needs to be: with Congress. We do not need executive orders to deal temporarily with these Dreamers who are a part of our national productivity and potential; we need a permanent legal solution. Congress, please act now to keep these young people in the only country they have known.”

Kim Whetstone, Discipleship Pastor, Parkview Community Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois:
“Congress must take action immediately to develop compassionate and comprehensive immigration legislation that reflects the nation’s firm belief in the equality of each human being and each individual’s inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and protects Dreamers now. If Congress does not act immediately, we risk losing not only a generation of Dreamers, we risk losing the American dream itself.”

Evangelical Leaders Respond to DACA Rescission, Urge Congress to Act

Update: As of Sept. 7, this letter has been signed by more than 3,000 pastors and evangelical leaders from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

September 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evangelical leaders are urging Congress to protect Dreamers following today’s announcement that the Trump administration is rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

These leaders and others had sent letters last week to the president, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), to insist that President Trump work with Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers. Since then, more than 1,000 pastors and evangelical leaders from 46 states have signed on to the letters.

The following are quotes today from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Congresses have convened and adjourned from one election cycle to the next while Dreamers have waited. May this Congress step up to legislate for Dreamers and turn waiting into promise and hope.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“We have a clear and compelling moral obligation to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who are here among us. We cannot fail these children and young people nor our national interest yet again. Congress must act. I believe there is bipartisan support for legislation that will put our compassion, wisdom and moral courage into law.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Congress must act. The stakes are high. Extraordinary pressure on Congress and unimaginable consequences for DACA students and families are two motivators that must bring this long-needed and overdue legislation. The American people can hardly stand the current levels of inaction and partisanship. Congress can restore our belief that people matter and that unnecessary penalty to innocent people is not tolerated. While cynicism lurks, every day presents new opportunities to make the laws we need. The CCCU intends to encourage and hold congressional friends and leaders accountable by working side by side with the Evangelical Immigration Table and our other partners in this work.”

Hyepin Im, CEO, Korean Christian Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:
“With today’s announcement of rescission of DACA, the lives of more than 800,000 Dreamers are hanging in the balance. They are our youth in whom America has made great investments. Since DACA, many have demonstrated and contributed to the strength of America. We ask Congress to act expeditiously to ensure that these youths continue to contribute to making America the best that it aspires to be.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“I am asking Congress to please remember the DACA recipients who are in their own districts. This group of young people is making their districts stronger, but even more our nation stronger through their brilliance, integrity, hard work and loyalty to the United States. They are our leaders in building a strong society now and in the future for the common good of all.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“Congress should do the right thing and provide a solution for those who were brought here by parents as children. Meanwhile, churches will be here to speak hope to children now thrown into fear and insecurity about their families and their futures.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I am disappointed that these protections are ending, and I’ve expressed that disappointment to the White House directly. … Thankfully, it is the job of Congress to make laws, and now the president has provided Congress a six-month window to legislate a more permanent and legally defensible solution for Dreamers. Six months is too long; we will demand action from Congress within 60 days. We do not intend on letting a single member of Congress have a good night’s rest until they guarantee our young people can rest easy. We will not be silent until every Dreamer can dream again.”

Rev. Tony Suarez, Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“The president has put the onus on Congress, and it’s Congress’ responsibility to the American people and Dreamers to finally pass a permanent solution. While I think it would be best to keep DACA in place for the time being, I also understand the frustration of the American people and the White House with Congress’ inability to pass a permanent solution. I implore our elected representatives to solve this issue once and for all.”

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