Evangelicals Respond to Executive Orders on Family Reunification, Asylum and Legal Immigration Processes
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders related to immigration, asylum and family reunification. The leadership of the Evangelical Immigration Table (the Table) is encouraged by this positive momentum, while urging the Biden administration to follow through expeditiously on these orders.
In January, the Table — a broad coalition led by prominent evangelical denominations and organizations — released an Evangelical Immigration Agenda for the 117th Congress and the New Administration, guided by biblical principles that have shaped the Table since its launch in 2012.
Tuesday’s orders address several of the Table’s priorities, including reunifying children and parents separated along the U.S.-Mexico border; restoring due process to the U.S. asylum system; assisting with root-cause dynamics of poverty, violence and corruption that have led many in Central America to travel to the U.S. in desperation; and rejecting recent re-interpretations of the “public charge” rule that would prevent many prospective immigrants from being reunited with U.S. citizen family members.
However, in many cases these orders only go so far as to instruct appropriate leaders within the new administration to propose long-term solutions, rather than make those changes immediately. The Evangelical Immigration Table will continue to advocate that these situations be fully resolved as expeditiously as possible, while also urging the Congress to work together on a bipartisan basis to address needed changes that require legislative action, including an earned legalization process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and other Dreamers, among others.
The following are quotes from individual leaders of evangelical organizations:
Tim Breene, CEO, World Relief:
“Reuniting families separated by our government along the border, restoring our asylum system and re-opening legal immigration processes that have been restricted in recent years will take a great deal of effort and advocacy. While pleased with the swift release of executive orders related to immigration, World Relief urges the administration to follow through on these preliminary actions with concrete policy changes that are within the administration’s authority, including resetting the refugee resettlement ceiling, ending the ‘Migrant Protection Protocols’ and other policies restricting access to asylum, and restoring immigration legal processes that facilitate family reunification.”
Hyepin Im, President & CEO, Faith in Community Empowerment:
“These executive actions are important steps to undoing some of the harmful policies of the past several years. Many additional immigration policy changes are still necessary — some of which are within the purview of the White House, others of which will require bipartisan cooperation in the U.S. Congress — but for evangelicals committed to the well-being of vulnerable children and the unity of families, these orders are commendable.”
Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services:
“These executive orders signal that a humane and compassionate approach to immigration is here. Families and children should be reunited and never separated again. People fleeing danger and seeking asylum shouldn’t be turned away. The root causes of migration should be addressed so people don’t have to flee in the first place.”
Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“The time has come to address with real solutions our broken immigration system. A broken immigration system has deleterious effects on thousands of families and children who we are called to serve. The Biden Administration’s executive orders provide real momentum around family reunification, asylum seekers and refugees, and we encourage genuine follow-through on these orders. Still, as Hispanic Evangelicals we are praying for long-term solutions that can only come from bipartisan legislation in Congress. For too long legislative inaction has led to continued frustration and pain in so many communities. We remain hopeful that we can chart a bipartisan way forward that is humane and responsible.”
Edgar Sandoval, Sr., President, World Vision U.S.:
“As a Christian organization dedicated to the well-being of all children, we believe the most important relationship for all children is that of a parent, and a unified family is the foundation for the welfare and development of a child. I encourage the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families to move swiftly to reunite these children with their loved ones, and the Biden Administration to strengthen efforts to eliminate the root causes of dangerous migration for so many families and children.”
The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.