Category Archive for: "Statements and Press Releases"

Letters Urge Congress, Administration: Welcome Refugees

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 1, 2015 — In letters today, the Evangelical Immigration Table urges Congress and the Obama administration to welcome refugees and significantly increase the number of refugees the country admits in the next fiscal year.

“The United States of America has a proud history of welcoming refugees, and local churches have long been eager partners in the process of integration. As evangelical Christians, our faith compels us to respond with compassion and hospitality, recognizing that each is made in God’s image and is a neighbor whom God commands us to love,” the letters state. “ … We are calling upon our government to do more.”

The full letters are available here.

The following are quotes from Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:

“When others are in desperate need, we remember Jesus’ golden rule to treat others as we would want to be treated. Let’s rescue refugees. It’s the Christian thing to do.”

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:

“World Relief has worked with local church partners throughout the nation to resettle more than 250,000 refugees since the late 1970s. As the world faces the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, we are ready and eager to do all that we can to welcome and help integrate those fleeing persecution. At this unique moment in history, we challenge our generous nation to do more, and we challenge each local church throughout the country to commit to welcoming a refugee family.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO and President, Christian Community Development Association:

“The current refugee crisis drives home the urgent need for leaders at home and abroad to work together to address the needs surrounding migration. People are leaving their countries of origin to flee poverty, violence and war, making migration a necessity for survival, not a sin. We need to look at the root causes of our current crisis and work together to create sustainable solutions that work for those who are migrating and for those who are receiving them.”

Bishop Jose Garcia, Director of Church Relations, Bread for the World:

“Throughout history the United States has been a ‘city of refuge’ for countless immigrants escaping political persecution and oppression. As a nation ‘under God’ we have the faith and moral imperative to become the hands and heart of God by reaching out and welcoming the stranger.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:

“The United States has been blessed with such an abundance of resources that we have the opportunity to bless others. We have the educational and employment opportunities that allow refugees to contribute in meaningful ways to the United States and to fulfill their God-given potential. Increasing the number of refugees is consistent with our biblical mandate to take care of the least of these.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“These millions of refugees, fleeing the most brutal kinds of persecution and oppression, are some of our world’s most vulnerable and defenseless people. Over and over again in Scripture we see that God has an interest in whether or not the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow are treated with compassion and care. By welcoming those whose religious and personal liberties have been trampled on by tyrants, we can embody our conviction that all people are made in the image of God, whether they are without a family, a home, or a country.”

Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/CONELA:

“Our greatest strength as a people lies in our God-graced ability to save lives. When the world cries out for help, we respond. Accordingly, this current refugee crisis requires our nation, this proverbial ‘city on a hill,’ to shine the light of compassion once again. Let us open our hearts and homes to the suffering and those fleeing destruction. Let us ‘be light’ once again.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and President, Sojourners:

“When people are in such great trouble and fear that they leave their homes with no place to go, the test of loving our neighbors—as Jesus tells us to do—is to welcome them with compassion, grace, and love—without political considerations. The Pope has asked the churches to take in the ‘strangers’ from Syria. Catholic or not, it is time for Christians everywhere to respond.”

Robert Zachritz, Vice President, Advocacy & Government Relations, World Vision US:

“It can be hard during a time of crisis to have a response of love instead of fear. Scriptures admonish us to love the refugee in our midst.”



Evangelical Immigration Table Celebrates Three-Year Anniversary

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 12, 2015 — In three years, the Evangelical Immigration Table has broadened and deepened its network of leaders calling for a just, compassionate immigration process rooted in biblical values.

Since leaders of national evangelical organizations launched the Table on June 12, 2012, nearly 1,700 local and national leaders have signed its Statement of Principles. Signatories urge legislators to advance meaningful reform that:

• Respects the God-given dignity of every person.
• Protects the unity of the immediate family.
• Respects the rule of law.
• Guarantees secure national borders.
• Ensures fairness to taxpayers.
• Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.

In the Table’s three years, local and national organizers have held hundreds of pastors meetings, prayer events, press conferences and fly-ins. The Table’s documentary film, The Stranger, has screened more than 3,000 times in 46 states and Washington, D.C., since its June 2014 premiere.

The following are quotes from Table leaders:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Three years ago an impressive group of evangelical leaders came to the same commonsense principles for immigration reform. The movement now includes thousands of local pastors and organizers across the country. Our voice is louder, and our message is the same. We want immigration reform.”

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“On the three-year anniversary of the Evangelical Immigration Table, I am amazed to see the shift in evangelical attitudes towards immigrants and am proud of the work the Table has done to mobilize hundreds of individuals for immigration reform. The growing consensus around immigration reform reflects the deep conviction that many evangelicals have that we are to welcome and love the stranger as we would Christ Himself. We hope that our Congress heeds the calls of many evangelicals in passing immigration reform that would allow millions of our fellow brothers and sisters who live in the shadows of our country to become fully integrated members of our society.“

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“I remain proud to stand among evangelical leaders who came together three years ago across the denominational, political, cultural and racial spectrum to call on our elected officials to replace the broken immigration system. Since then we have seen growing support from the broader evangelical community. But we have waited too long. In our work, the CCDA encounters families still living in fear of separation and people remaining in the shadows. Our elected officials must act on their moral courage and find solutions that will support immigrants, our economy and our communities. We remain committed to this effort.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“Advancing the well-being of people through immigration reform is what Christian Higher Education wants to be ‘for.’ This coalition of evangelicals brings dedication and hard work to a tough problem. It is in unity that we have hope.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“In the past three years, I’ve been grateful to see God at work in churches all across this country. God is reminding us that ‘immigrants’ are not an abstraction. They are our neighbors, created in the image of God, and many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that three years from now, we see not only a more just system in the public arena, but also more and more churches that reflect the glorious unity and diversity of the kingdom of God.”

Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Today we celebrate the collaborative work of the Evangelical Immigration Table. Together, we have won the moral argument for the need of immigration reform. We stand on the edge of a proverbial ‘Jordan River,’ inches away from stepping into the Promised Land. We never would have crossed the desert of apathy and fragmentation without the Evangelical Immigration Table.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The work of this broad coalition of evangelical leaders for immigration reform has been nothing short of inspiring. Political leadership should take note of the faith-inspired, principled, and trans-partisan efforts of evangelicals and move on immigration reform. We are praying together for solutions.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and President, Sojourners:
“To see evangelicals coming together to support immigration reform across our racial, cultural, theological, and political differences has been one of the most hopeful signs we have seen for a long time. This is gift to the church, and a blessing to the country by showing divisive politics the way forward.”

‘The Stranger’ Celebrates More Than 3,000 Screenings in First Year

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 4, 2015— Today marks the one-year anniversary of the world premiere of The Stranger, a compelling documentary film that looks at our current immigration system from a biblical perspective.

Since its premiere, more than 3,000 screenings of the film have taken place across 46 states plus Washington, D.C. The film, which is still available for download at, highlights the stories of three families caught in our broken immigration system.

The Stranger is just as relevant now, if not more so,” said Linda Midgett, the filmmaker. “There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about immigration laws in our country. I’m thrilled that we’ve had more than 3,000 screenings, but I hope more people continue to watch the film and encourage their churches and communities to do the same.”

“In the past year thousands have been able to witness the plight of our undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters through The Stranger,” said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “As millions wait in expectancy for our immigration system to be reformed The Stranger reminds us of the urgent need for reform to pass.”

One year later our country is still dealing with an immigration system that results in families being separated. But the film has helped to change the hearts and minds of evangelicals across the country.

The Stranger is impacting Iowa, and our first showing in our church was a success,” said Luis Gabriel Arredondo, Cultural Ministry Coordinator at the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. “The best comment I heard was, ‘We need to let the truth be known.’ The film captured a wide range of situations that helped people get a broad understanding of this issue. This is bringing real-life stories to our community, which longs to speak for the voiceless, for the sojourner who is a stranger to many.”

The Stranger puts a human face on the challenging discussions surrounding immigration reform, said Will Stoller-Lee, Director of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “It introduces us to the lives of three families, trapped in the current broken immigration system. The stories of these families help show that these are not strangers at all, but people you might already know in your own neighborhood, at your school, in your church, or at your workplace. It will change the way you view immigrants in our society and transform how you think about immigration reform.”

While delving into one of the most complex issues of our time, The Stranger returns the conversation to Scripture, and to the stories of real people.

“Good movies make you care. Good movies make you see the possibilities. Good movies speak to your soul. The Stranger does all those things exceptionally well,” said Tim Moore, Senior Pastor of Walk Worthy Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. “But this movie was also about real people whose lives have been needlessly put on hold, families spent into near bankruptcy trying to do things right. I’m praying for the sequel, where these lives are filmed living their God-given potential, contributing to the country that has always been her best when opportunity to live the American dream was the hope of every immigrant.”

“While our country continues to debate the need for immigration reform, millions of men, women and children created in God’s image continue to live in the shadows,” said Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President of Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who is in the film. “The Stranger has served remarkably well in telling a small portion of the story of the human toll involved in our nation’s broken immigration system. I pray that God will continue to use this film to spur us all to action for the sake of our nation and the stranger in our midst.”

Follow The Stranger on Facebook and Twitter.

Evangelical Churches, Pastors Engage on Immigration

On Reform, Recent Poll Indicates Broad Support in the Pews

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 22, 2015 — Evangelical Christians on the local and national levels continue to call for solutions for our broken immigration system and to address immigrants from a biblical perspective.

In the past week, more than 250 leaders from local churches around the country signed up for Evangelical Immigration Table webinars in English and Spanish on the biblical response to immigration and resources available to pastors as they engage their congregations in the conversation.

“Politicians may not be taking a serious, collaborative approach to solving the broken immigration system, but church leaders are working to ensure that their congregations look at immigration through a biblical and not a partisan lens,” said Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association. “We must bring attention to the fact that our immigrant brothers and sisters suffer daily because of injustice in our current immigration laws.”

From Alabama to Iowa, local pastors are continuing to speak out on the moral imperatives for reform and urge a constructive political conversation around immigration from candidates for president. Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, sounded a similar note in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Reiterating his theme, Moore said, “The immigration skirmishes over the past several years have turned the topic into a culture-war issue it should never have become. America isn’t a silo of limited resources that will be spoiled by adding more people. Evangelicals have rightly insisted that people should never be regarded as a burden on society, and many of our healthiest and most evangelistic churches are filled with first-generation immigrants. More than that, evangelicals increasingly see the need for a tough but fair solution to our nation’s immigration crisis that highlights both justice and compassion.”

Meanwhile, more churches are engaging on immigration, including some of the largest churches in Iowa. Among pastors, the number signing on to the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform continues to grow as well.

“There is no doubt the issue of fixing our broken immigration system remains at the forefront of people of faith,” said Rev. Tony Suarez, Executive Vice President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). “Our moral convictions do not allow us to look the other way while children and families suffer.”

“Thanks to widespread Bible reading, prayer, preaching, and awareness campaigns, the groundswell of evangelical support for immigration reform continues to build in churches and communities across the country,” said Galen Carey, Vice President for Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals. “Politicians seeking support from evangelicals in 2016 should take note and offer voters a positive vision for an immigration policy that is pro-family and that promotes economic growth.”

And this spring, LifeWay Research found that nearly 70 percent of evangelical Christians support broad immigration reform that provides not only for border security but also for an opportunity for immigrants lacking authorization to earn legal status and citizenship. The same percentage say Congress should act this year. The findings moved Daniel Carroll Rodas of the Denver Seminary to write in the Christian Post about an evangelical community interested in the biblical perspective on immigration.

“We are experiencing a significant shift in how evangelicals understand immigration,” said Stephan Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief. “Welcoming the stranger is a biblical and moral imperative, and fixing our current immigration system is urgent. LifeWay Research’s recent polling confirms that most evangelical Christians want Congress to take action and lead our country toward a more just, compassionate immigration system. We call upon Congress and the future presidential candidates to embrace the call of the faith community.”

“Despite the failure of Congress to act, we will continue our work of bringing people of faith together around the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners. “We will also hold all presidential candidates accountable for their policy positions on immigration, and we will keep at it until the job is done.”

“Recent research confirms that immigration reform is important to students,” said Shirley V. Hoogstra, President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. “Those who are undocumented and have no pathway toward legal status face hurdle after hurdle in obtaining the education that will allow them to fulfill their God-given abilities and to better their lives, their communities and the country they have lived in for most of their lives. The CCCU has joined the Evangelical Immigration Table to urge Congress to act and ensure that all students in the U.S. have the opportunity to pursue an education that will give them a brighter future.”

While voices ranging from political to cynical are leading the immigration conversation in Congress and among presidential candidates, more and more evangelical Christians are taking a biblical approach.

“Christians recognize the Bible calls us time and time again to treat the most vulnerable with compassion and care, with several passages specifically mentioning the refugees in our midst,” concluded Robert Zachritz, Vice President of Advocacy & Government Relations for World Vision. “Doing so in a manner that shows respect for the rule of law while also providing a path to citizenship is a way to bring hope to people in desperate situations.”


The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

New Poll: Evangelical Support for Immigration Reform Remains Robust

For a recording of today’s press call, click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 11, 2015 — Support for broad immigration reform from Congress is strong among evangelical Christians, according to a new poll from LifeWay Research, an evangelical research firm.

More than two-thirds of the poll’s 1,000 respondents expressed support for reform that both boosts border security and provides undocumented immigrants an opportunity to earn legal status and eventual citizenship. Poll results are available online.

The following are quotes from local pastors and national evangelical leaders, across denominations and communities, who discussed the findings on a press call today:

Ed Stetzer, Executive Director, LifeWay Research:
“The survey results show that evangelicals are supportive of immigration reform, yet also wary about some of what that might include. Law and order seems to matter more, but families and faith issues seem to move evangelicals into the pro-immigration reform column. Considering the current political climate and the assumptions in the current political discourse, evangelicals are surprisingly open to immigration reforms.”

Evelyn Chaparro, Spanish Pastor, The River Church, Brandon, Fla.; President, Radio Genesis, Tampa:
“The stories that I hear day to day from those I pastor and from the listening audience of the radio station are very real and sometimes very heart-wrenching. There is real fear and insecurity, and that dominates the lives of the people I serve on a daily basis. We need to speak for those that can’t, and we need to recommend and support immigration reform consistent with biblical principles. Latinos and other ethnic minorities have particularly strong views on this topic. The results of this survey help us see where we agree and where we still need to work.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“It’s very interesting to see the alignment for younger evangelicals, which includes strong support for a pathway toward legal status and citizenship. Young evangelicals recognize that immigrants are people who share our values. I think that the future is with this group of young people, who want to see reform sooner rather than later. Not only is diversity essential for learning today, but it will only grow in importance. Our colleges and our student bodies want to be in the midst of the emerging diversity conversation because it prepares everyone for a global future.”

Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, N.H.:
“These results are important and encouraging to me as a pastor to continue to help our congregations see that Biblical principles do apply to current issues and challenge people to be involved. As a pastor I see this issue as a biblical mandate for me in the context of helping the poor and disadvantaged in society. Evangelicals are not as one-sided as sometimes we’re made out to be on this issue. People in our churches want to know how Scripture applies to what we’re seeing in the daily news.”

Ryan Perz, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Orange City, Iowa:
“I’m personally concerned about immigration reform because of how it affects the community I live in. If you come and visit my community, it’s filled with many immigrant neighbors, working very hard … they’re a vital part of the community. As a pastor and a lover of Christ, I want to be obedient to his command to love my neighbor as myself.

“The polling results show that any candidate has a lot to gain and very little to lose by supporting immigration reform. As potential candidates come to visit, I hope they’ll take note of these findings.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Hispanic evangelicals are glad the new research by LifeWay Research shows broad and diverse evangelical support for commonsense immigration reform. Our prayer is that Congress can follow the example of this evangelical coalition and pass immigration reform this year.”

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“For years, many evangelicals have been responding to immigrants in their communities with compassion and by calling for immigration reform. What this new polling shows is widespread support for immigration reform among people in the pews. Evangelicals believe there is an urgency for Congress to reform our laws because they personally know immigrants who are affected, or they may be immigrants themselves. We hope Congress, instead of being swayed by the minority, takes up immigration reform that a majority of evangelicals across the country supports.”

Documentary Film Explores Biblical Response to Immigration

HOUSTON, OCTOBER 16, 2014 The Stranger, a documentary film that looks at immigration from a biblical perspective, screened Tuesday at Pleasant Hill Ministries. The film highlights the stories of three families who are caught in our broken immigration system. It is available for download via

At a panel discussion following the screening, local evangelical leaders spoke about the immense human costs our immigration system exacts on churches, families and communities:

Dr. Steven Bezner, Senior Pastor, Houston Northwest Church:
“In a world filled with shrill tones and harsh words, it is more important than ever for the followers of Jesus to faithfully discuss, lead, and engage the important issues of our day. It is thrilling to see Christians working together on the issues of immigration. I’m excited about the possibilities if we work together.”

Pastor Harvey Clemons, Jr., Senior Pastor, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church:
“It is clear to those who are sensitive to human rights issues that there are systemic problems with our current immigration policy. The effect of this failed system impacts families, the economy and psyche of our nation, not to mention our relationship with the creator. For these reasons the faith community must be a light in the midst of the darkness that this policy has perpetuated. We at Pleasant Hill are honored to host the viewing of this film and invite those interested in understanding Scriptures call on this issue to join with us in a time of learning and dialogue.”

Graciela Saenz, Attorney, Saenz & Burkhardt, PLLC:
“Our God wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I begin with that premise and put myself in the shoes of those that seek something better in their future. God has blessed me with many opportunities to do this in my own life so I see myself over and over again in the eyes of those that are coming to our great country. I pray that God continues to open my eyes, my ears and my heart to my neighbors. This film seeks to show but a small amount of what God really has in store for us all to know and understand. We should be confident that He will provide us with the tools and wisdom to do what is right and good in His eyes.”

ICYMI: Evangelical Immigration Table Ads Moved the Needle

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 — A new study shows that Evangelical Immigration Table radio ads affected white evangelicals’ attitudes toward immigration reform.

As reported in the Christian Post, from February 2013 to February 2014, opposition to immigration reform among white Evangelicals decreased 15 percentage points, from 62 percent to 47 percent, in 16 states where ads ran. University of Pennsylvania political scientist Michele Margolis studied numbers from a sample of 2,000 adults who were interviewed in February 2013, September 2013 and February 2014.

In most of these same states, Table “mobilizers” have worked hard to engage evangelical pastors and evangelicals in the pews in a conversation about what the Bible says about immigrants and immigration, helping to reshape the Christian response.

The study compared attitudes in states without ads with those in the following states where ads aired: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Evangelical Immigration Table principals are available for interviews regarding these findings. Please contact Beau Underwood, or Dan Gordon.

Local Pastors, Prominent Guests Engage on Immigration

Pastors Discuss Biblical Perspective at Northwest Nazarene Conference

NAMPA, AUGUST 27, 2014 — Local pastors and professors joined guests from Colorado and Arizona today at Northwest Nazarene University for a pastors conference, “Engaging Immigration: A Ministry Leader’s Conference on Thinking Biblically about Immigration.”

The conference, hosted by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and the Evangelical Immigration Table, included a panel discussion on the economic and moral imperatives for action on immigration reform and a screening of the film The Stranger, which has screened more than 2,100 times in 45 states this summer.

The following are quotes from participants in today’s panel discussion:

Dr. Pete Crabb, Professor of Finance and Economics, Northwest Nazarene University:
“Economic theory and empirical evidence show that immigration is good for the U.S. and its workers. When the Idaho agricultural industry wants to hire workers to pick produce, the residency of those workers shouldn’t matter. Any time we prevent mutually beneficial transactions, we reduce competition and all its benefits to society.

“Research using state-level data shows that immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity, stimulate new investment, and boost productivity. States with higher immigrant worker populations have higher rates of output per worker. If we want competitive markets for the things we buy and if we are going to advocate for free trade throughout the world, we must also support free trade in the labor market.”

Adam Estle, Center Director, Refugio Phoenix:
“It is tremendously important for churches and faith leaders to engage the issue of immigration the same way we should engage any social issue: through biblical and compassionate lenses. Hopefully, people in the pews will love and care for their immigrant neighbors in greater and great ways. When the time comes for Congress to re-engage in the effort to fix our broken immigration system, we pray for a tidal wave of support from the evangelical community that will compel Washington to listen and respond in a way that brings a just immigration reform to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”

Michelle Warren, Director of Advocacy & Policy Engagement, CCDA, Denver:
“Immigration affects people — native and foreign born. We as a country cannot continue to allow partisan politics to define what we should do and how we should do it. The citizenry, especially those who call themselves Christians, must lead this conversation in our churches and in our communities and lead our legislators so that we can both establish and enhance opportunities for everyone that will move our country forward.”

Dr. Burton Webb, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Northwest Nazarene University:
“Throughout human history people have migrated around the globe. So immigration is not a new issue. Thousands of years ago the scriptures and other wisdom texts urged people to care for the immigrant. As people of faith we need to read, remember, and redeem.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #EngageImmigration and follow the film @thestrangerfilm.

Colorado & Nebraska Evangelical Leaders Tour Border Agencies

MCALLEN, TEXAS, AUGUST 20, 2014 — On Friday, local Colorado and Nebraska faith leaders and public officials joined the Christian Community Development Association in McAllen to tour facilities that help process and meet the immediate needs of family units and unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The faith leaders gained first-hand knowledge of how communities are working together to address the current humanitarian need, and joined a roundtable discussion with other local and national faith, law enforcement and public sector leaders after the tour to discuss how to support children coming to local communities.

The following quotes are from participants in Friday’s tours and roundtable discussion:

Debra Bartelson, Legislative Policy Analyst and Co-Chair, Denver Latino Commission, Denver, Colo.:
“After my time in McAllen seeing the border relief efforts first-hand, I am left with many questions. The issue is overwhelming, and I am reminded of something Mother Teresa said when faced with enormous need, ‘if you can’t feed the millions, then just feed one.’ We as civic and faith leaders must collaborate with each other to both identify existing needs and combine our resources to do what we can to help.”

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, Ill.:
“A delegation of CCDA Board members, staff and members from across the nation traveled to McAllen, TX to get a first-hand look at the humanitarian crisis with the unaccompanied children that is impacting our southern border. Along with being moved by seeing the children, we were inspired by the compassionate response of church, city and community leaders. Like these leaders, we are committed to offering our support as CCDA.”

Susan Shepherd, Councilwoman, Denver City Council:
“My biggest take-away from my time spent at the border in McAllen was how compassionate the response was from all entities, including the public and non-profit sector and the faith community. I was inspired by their grace, strength & commitment under fire. Not one person complained. McAllen has set the bar very high. I hope that if Denver is chosen to receive some of the unaccompanied minors, that we too will rise above the endless squabbling over immigration issues and recognize that these are humans fleeing horrible conditions in their own countries and in desperate need of safety, basic life necessities and compassionate and respectful treatment.”

Dr. Lois Svoboda, Missions Committee, The Presbyterian Church of Fremont, Neb.:
“Being a part of the McAllen border trip, I was able to see first-hand what is happening with refugees crossing our border. What I witnessed was an amazing network of collaboration between city, faith, and law enforcement leaders working together to address the pressing need. The media, who constantly shares the negative, has all but left out what I saw and experienced. There was no hostility only people in leadership who had a welcoming attitude. A leader from the city of McAllen shared that any person who crosses the boundary of McAllen should be welcomed and not asked where they came from. My hope for my Nebraska community is to learn from them and take a step forward to work together. I don’t believe that politicians who comment perpetually on the negative will be able to offer us solutions. We need to start with the faith community and look to them for the moral leadership that they can offer.”

Michelle Warren, Director of Advocacy & Policy Engagement, CCDA; Colorado and Nebraska Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table, Denver, Colo.:
“The issues surrounding immigration and our borders continue to loom large. It is very apparent that we do not have a secure border problem in our country but rather a global migration problem. Seeing the border, hearing from local law enforcement, public sector officials and faith leaders all addressing the needs of those crossing the border was both inspiring and insightful. What we hear in the news is not reflective of what is actually taking place. The community network of care that exists in McAllen is that story that should be lifted up. People are working together to meet the needs of people; help is taking place seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform and #ccdaborder.

Letter Urges Congress: Protect Vulnerable Children, Respond with Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 22, 2014 — Today the Evangelical Immigration Table is sending a letter to Congress, urging representatives and Senators to preserve laws that protect children and to help respond to migrant children with increased funding.

The letter comes as Congress considers not only the president’s supplemental budget request to respond to children who have migrated to the U.S., but also changes to laws designed to protect victims of human trafficking.

“Evangelicals are guided by Jesus’ admonitions to welcome and protect children (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:37, Luke 18:15-17),” the letter states. “As our nation responds to this humanitarian crisis, we are thankful for laws that protect children and provide for their needs. While our systems are currently stretched, our laws uphold basic child protection principles.

The letter goes on to express concern about the possible weakening of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), enacted in 2008 and reauthorized in 2013. “The TVPRA ensures that victims of trafficking are not only identified and screened properly but that traffickers are penalized and brought to justice,” the letter states.

The letter also calls on Congress to ensure adequate funding for agencies that work with vulnerable immigrants including children, refugees and victims of trafficking: “We urge you to provide the necessary resources and policy guidance to address the current crisis, and then hold

the Administration accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities under the law. Robust funding is needed … Funds must not simply be transferred from one vulnerable population to another.”

The full letter is available here. Below are quotes from Table leaders regarding the letter:

Stephan Bauman, President, World Relief:
“Political expediency should not trump good policy. Many evangelicals worked hard to support the TVPRA in 2008 and in 2012 so to hear about potential rollbacks in protections for unaccompanied children is troubling. Urgent resources are needed to provide care for unaccompanied children, and Congress should support such funding needs without resorting to unnecessary changes in law that will weaken protections for children and be difficult to gain back if passed.

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“The refugee situation at the border is a moral crisis. There are no easy fixes, but we must start by seeing these children as what they are: loved by God and created in his image. We need to respond to this crisis in a way that honors both human dignity and national security.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Children, created in God’s image, should never be unaccompanied, nor should they be exploited, trafficked or sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. I believe it is wrong for parents to send children to the U.S. border when the primary protective firewall for these children lies in a loving Christ filled home where faith, family and education stand prevalent. Correspondingly, as a nation and as people of faith, we must serve, heal and minister to those that have arrived in our nation because theirs, according to Jesus, is the kingdom of heaven.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The evangelical community has a moral and biblical commitment to protect the most vulnerable. Ensuring due process for these displaced children fleeing violence, and economic deprivation is part of our Christian witness. Yelling at defenseless children and women is not the way forward.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using #Pray4Reform.

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