Evangelical Leaders Urge Protection for Children, Respect for U.S. Asylum Laws

 In Press Releases

February 28, 2020 

Evangelical Leaders Urge Protection for Children, Respect for U.S. Asylum Laws

As a court issues a temporary injunction on a policy requiring asylum seekers to “remain in Mexico,” evangelical leaders cite concerns with the policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Evangelical Immigration Table sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, expressing safety and health concerns about children and families required to remain in Mexico while awaiting asylum processing under the terms of the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP).

The letter was sent on the same day that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a temporary injunction halting the MPP policy.

In their letter, evangelical leaders particularly highlight the concerns that children and families required to remain in Mexico have in some cases become “victims of kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking and other dangerous situations that sometimes rival the difficult situations from which they initially fled.” The letter also notes the public health risks of children being returned to Mexico without being offered flu vaccines.

“Ultimately,” the leaders write, “we hope you will reconsider the Migrant Protection Protocols, which is straining the resources of Mexican border churches and communities. It would be much safer for these families, to be cared for by their extended family members and by local churches throughout the United States while they await their court hearings.”

The letter highlights the importance of due process for those seeking to request asylum under the terms of U.S. law. “U.S. laws rightly both prohibit unlawful entry to the country and offer the promise of protection to those – including vulnerable children – who are fleeing persecution. We must respect the law in both of these regards. We can secure our borders while also respecting due process for those seeking asylum and ensuring that every asylum-seeker is treated humanely and protected from violence while they await the adjudication of their requests.”

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

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:

“America’s commitment to offer refuge to those fleeing persecution is rooted both in our history and in the biblical teaching that all people are made in God’s image and thus possess inherent human dignity. Recent policy changes that all but close off the possibility of asylum for those arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are putting children and their families at risk. The U.S. can—and should—both protect our borders and respect our laws that offer asylum to those with a credible fear of persecution.”

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

“As Christians, we are called to live out the biblical principles of caring for those who are most vulnerable and ‘welcoming the stranger.’ As part of this commitment, we’re using our voice to ask for due process for those seeking asylum in the United States, ensuring that all asylum-seekers, including countless children and their families, are treated humanely and protected from violence and disease.”

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

“Applying for asylum is legal in the United States of America and while not everyone will receive asylum, everyone should have the opportunity to follow the law in our country. As Christians, we should share the heart of Jesus for imperiled refugees escaping violence and persecution. And as a nation we must live up to our great tradition of serving as a beacon of liberty to those who fled for their lives. These are our neighbors who bear the image of God and should be afforded due process and the ability to present their case to our courts.”

Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:

“Our government should follow our own laws of due process and regulations. The children’s exposure and treatment in horrific conditions without vaccination and due care is not only inhumane but can lead to unintended consequences that impacts the rest of the world including the United States.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:

“At a time of significant political polarization, I hope that we can find common ground in insisting that our country do everything reasonably possible to ensure that children are kept healthy and safe, protected from those who would prey upon their vulnerability. Tragically, children and their parents required to wait for months on the Mexican side of the border in order to present a lawful asylum request are not safe at the moment. A strong, compassionate nation must do better than this.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

“As a nation, we should both secure our borders and provide due process for those requesting asylum, including those fleeing authoritarian regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. That does not mean that everyone who shows up should be allowed in, but that individuals be allowed the opportunity to present their eligibility under U.S. law to receive protection in the U.S.”


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