Evangelical Leaders Urge Biden Administration, Congress to Address Migration’s Root Causes

 In Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and members of Congress, urging them to work together to address the root causes of poverty, violence and corruption that have fueled migration from Central America.

“We are writing to urge you to leverage the influence and resources of the U.S. government to address the root causes that fuel emigration from Central America’s Northern Triangle region,” the letter reads. “This response should be holistic in addressing both the driving factors of this migration and the U.S. immigration policies that govern an immigrant’s arrival.”

The leaders urge the U.S. government to partner with faith-based organizations actively working to reduce poverty and expand opportunity within Central America, noting that they “have unique relationships with local churches, providing unmatched access, building trust among local communities, and building resilience among community members.”

The letter also suggests that the U.S. government collaborate with civil society organizations that have “the capacity, will and experience to address corruption, while also leveraging U.S. diplomacy to expose corrupt practices and politicians while praising progress.”

Evangelical leaders have long insisted upon humane treatment of asylum seekers and other migrants who reach the United States, in compliance with U.S. law, but also are praying, working and advocating for the day when “no one will be forced to emigrate to the U.S. under duress.”

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

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:

“At World Relief, we’re eager to welcome individuals and families seeking safety and opportunity in the United States. But we also lament that so many children, women and men have felt they had no choice but to leave their homelands because of situations of poverty, violence and corruption. While we advocate for more just and compassionate treatment of those who come to the U.S., we also believe that the U.S. government can and must do more to come alongside faith-based and other civil society organizations in Central America and elsewhere to address the root causes that fuel emigration.”

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

“As Christians, we are called to live out the biblical principles of caring for those who are most vulnerable. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ As we witness the increasingly large number of unaccompanied children and families fleeing Central America and seeking safety at our border, we ask the U.S. government to holistically address the root causes of migration and recognize the vulnerabilities faced by children and families in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:

“The children and families Bethany Christian Services works with don’t want to flee everything they’ve ever known — they want to stay safely in their homes, communities and countries. The best way to help families stay in their homes is to address the root causes that are forcing them to flee in the first place. We urge the U.S. government to advance solutions at the community level addressing violence and poverty in Central America. By working with faith-based, non-governmental and civil society organization in the region, stronger humanitarian protections can be put in place that recognize the inherent worth of each person, keep families together and keep children safe.”

Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:

“Beyond addressing the symptoms that lead to the mass movements of people and vulnerable families, we must speak with compassion and wisdom to the root causes that often lead to their displacement. As part of the evangelical community that has strong ties to ministries of compassion and mission around the world, we have long called for foreign policies and assistance that can alleviate these root challenges and in the long term lead to the flourishing of people in their countries of origin. The immigration challenges at home can in part be resolved by wise foreign policy and assistance.”

Edgar Sandoval, Sr., President, World Vision U.S.:

“As a Christian organization focused on the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable children, we continue to be deeply concerned about the drivers of migration in Central America forcing children and their families to make the dangerous journey to the US – a choice no one wants to make. I believe we are called to care for them and help them reach their God-given potential. We can make this a reality by addressing the root causes of migration and providing hope for a better future in the children’s home countries, where they can thrive.”


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


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