Evangelical Leaders Urge Administration to Grant Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans

 In Press Releases

September 9, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging them to grant Temporary Protected Status for individuals from Venezuela who currently live in the United States.

“Given the situation of political repression, shortages of food, water, gasoline and medicine, and state-sponsored violence toward political dissidents, we believe it would be inhumane to require Venezuelans to return to their country at this time, even as millions have fled to neighboring countries,” they write, noting that “[t]his is precisely the sort of situation for which Congress created Temporary Protected Status in 1990, entrusting the Administration with the discretion to provide temporary legal status and work authorization to individuals from a particular country facing a humanitarian crisis.”

The letter continues: “Local churches throughout the United States are already eagerly supporting individuals from Venezuela within their communities, but only the U.S. government can grant the work authorization and legal protections that would allow them to lawfully provide for themselves and to live without fear of deportation.”

The following are quotes from several of the Evangelical Immigration Table leaders who signed the letter:

Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:
“I can still hear the click-clack of the old, worn suitcases Venezuelan families pulled behind them as they crossed the bridge into Cúcuta, Colombia. I was visiting Bethany’s emergency welcome center for Venezuelan refugees last October, just a few hundred feet from the border. As I spoke to families from Venezuela who had crossed into Colombia with survival in mind, I thought of Matthew 25. In this passage, Jesus tells his friends to feed, clothe and welcome the ‘overlooked and ignored.’ The needs I learned about were overwhelming. We can do more to help. As the situation inside Venezuela continues to deteriorate, a well-coordinated regional response must be fully funded. Even more, Temporary Protected Status should be available for Venezuelan refugees who have already sought protection in the U.S. Now is the time to step up and protect children and families from Venezuela who are in need.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“The stories emerging from Venezuela — children going hungry, infant mortality rates rising, political repression and a refugee crisis at a scale unprecedented in the Western Hemisphere — are horrifying. Churches throughout the U.S. are eager to help, but we need our government to do what only it has the authority to do in allowing Venezuelans in the U.S. to stay and work lawfully, relieved of the threat of deportation.”

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Jesus told about the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the threatened guy on the road. He even paid to lodge and care for him. This is America’s chance to do good.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“The Venezuelan people are suffering terribly under the illegitimate regime of socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro. Our government can and should alleviate at least a small part of this suffering by extending Temporary Protected Status so that those Venezuelans currently in the United States will not be sent back, at least until the situation improves. I urge the administration to take this stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“The crisis in Venezuela, once South America’s wealthiest country, has devolved to the point that poverty is rampant, malnutrition is chronic and political dissenters face the risk of violent repression. More than 4 million have fled to neighboring countries. The U.S. should stand with the people of Venezuela both by offering the hope of resettlement to some of the most vulnerable refugees as well as by extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan nationals already in the U.S., whom it would be cruel to deport under the current circumstances.”


Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search