Evangelical Leaders Insist the Biden Administration Stand with Afghan Allies
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to follow through on his pledge to offer refuge to Afghan individuals and their families at risk due to their service to the U.S. government in Afghanistan.
“It is of utmost moral urgency that the U.S. government keeps our commitment, ensuring that those who qualify for Special Immigrant Visas as a result of their service to the United States are safely evacuated from Afghanistan and to a safe location for processing, along with their immediate families. We recognize and lament that it has become increasingly difficult to safely evacuate our allies. However, giving up on these brave individuals is simply not an option,” the letter reads.
The letter also notes the importance of an increased refugee ceiling and a revitalized U.S. refugee resettlement program. Refugee resettlement can serve as a lifeline to Afghans who are likely to face persecution under the Taliban such as Christians and other religious minorities, women and girls who have pursued the opportunity for education, and others associated with the U.S. presence in Afghanistan who may not qualify for SIV status.
“As has been true for decades, evangelical churches in the United States stand ready to welcome persecuted individuals and families resettled to their communities,” the letter to President Biden concludes. “We are ready to do our part, and we are praying for you as you do your part to keep our commitment to those at risk for their service to the United States and to others fleeing a credible fear of persecution globally.”
The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders who signed the letter:
Myal Greene, President & CEO, World Relief:
“We are heartbroken by the situation in Afghanistan and praying fervently for those who now fear for their lives. In partnership with various local church and community partners, World Relief has welcomed thousands of Afghans into the U.S. in recent years, and we are ready and eager to welcome many more. For months, we have urged the Biden administration to coordinate an evacuation to Guam or another safe third location where those with pending cases could be processed in safety; we’ve been frustrated by the administration’s failure to heed this call thus far. Though it may be more challenging now than it would have been a few months ago, the U.S. government still has a moral obligation to ensure that we stand by these individuals who have stood with us.”
Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“Lives are at risk. It is imperative that as a country, we honor and demonstrate our commitment to our allies whose lives are now at risk with our decision and departure and provide pathways to safety.”
Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:
“The world is watching a catastrophic humanitarian disaster unfold in Afghanistan. More than two decades ago, I lived in Afghanistan as a humanitarian worker under Taliban rule. I also lived and worked in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell and the Afghan people tasted freedom for the first time. I lament that many of our allies may be left stranded, that Afghan citizens – especially women and girls – will lose their rights, that Christians and other religious minorities will face intense persecution, and that our nation wasn’t better prepared to offer Afghan refugees a safe place to live. I also have faith in a God who cares deeply about every person he created and am praying for God’s protection.”
Daniel Patterson, Acting President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“What we are witnessing in Afghanistan right now is as shocking as it is heartbreaking. Regardless of how one feels about the policies that led us to this point, Christians are called to be a voice for the vulnerable. Clearly, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding and both prayer and immediate action is urgently needed. We’ve joined this letter to request our national leaders do everything possible to help those refugees who are fleeing for their lives.”
Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Our nation made a commitment to our Afghan allies and their families, and our biblical conviction that each of these men, women and children is made in God’s image with dignity and value compels us to insist that our government keep its promise and not leave them behind as the U.S. withdraws its military from Afghanistan. To leave them behind is morally unacceptable.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.