Evangelical leaders respond to introduction of the Dignity Act, Renew call for bipartisan immigration solutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, seven Republican Members of Congress introduced the Dignity Act, an ambitious bill that would allow the vast majority of undocumented immigrants to eventually earn U.S. citizenship if they desire to do so.
While we have concerns about certain elements of the legislation, the Evangelical Immigration Table is encouraged by the introduction of this legislation, which includes a number of elements consistent with the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform. Those principles, which have been affirmed by thousands of evangelical pastors and leaders since their introduction in 2012, call for a bipartisan solution 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
Just as evangelical leaders said about President Biden’s proposal for a broad immigration reform bill that would include an earned path to citizenship, we believe the Dignity Act presents an important step toward long-overdue reforms to our immigration system consistent with these biblical values. Notably, these proposals – one supported by most Democratic Members of Congress and the other introduced by several Republican Members of Congress – share a number of commonalities, including providing an earned path to citizenship for those who qualify and wish to become citizens.
We pray that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and the president will work together urgently to find consensus and finally pass bipartisan legislation to provide much-needed reforms to our immigration system, including establishing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other Dreamers, improving border security and management, and allowing immigrants in the country unlawfully who entered as adults the opportunity to make restitution for their violation of law and pursue permanent legal status and citizenship.
The following are quotes from several Evangelical Immigration Table leaders:
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
“For the many Christian college campuses with students whose long-term ability to reside and work lawfully in the United States is uncertain right now as a result of legal challenges to the DACA program, a legislative solution for Dreamers is an urgent priority. We appreciate that this effort would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, just as we have affirmed past congressional efforts that address this urgent concern. I pray this bill’s introduction will serve as a catalyst for the bipartisan negotiations necessary to finally resolve these challenges.”
Walter Kim, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Since 2009, the National Association of Evangelicals has called for immigration reform legislation that recognizes immigrants as being made in the image of God and demonstrates biblical grace to the undocumented. Rep. Maria Salazar’s Dignity Act is an encouraging step in this direction, offering hope to millions of our immigrant neighbors who wish to earn legal immigration status and continue living and working in the United States. We encourage other members of Congress in both parties to engage in serious negotiations toward a legislative package that can win bipartisan support.”
Brent Leatherwood, Acting President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“For too long, immigration reform and border security have been pitted against one another. That shouldn’t be the case. This proposal provides a framework that encompasses both of those perspectives and, more importantly, starts from the position of affirming the inherent dignity and worth of each and every individual. This issue is too important to be sidelined by partisan politics. I am hopeful that what Congresswoman Salazar has put forth here signals the beginning of a concentrated effort to reform our broken immigration system.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.