Leading Evangelical Women Address Refugees, Family Separation, Dreamers

 In Press Releases

A recording of today’s call is available here.

June 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Prominent evangelical women from across the nation called for compassionate solutions to family separation and other pressing immigration challenges during a press call today.

Some of the speakers will join a delegation of evangelical women and men meeting with congressional offices Tuesday.

Speakers addressed the plight of refugees and others fleeing persecution ahead of World Refugee Day on Wednesday, as well as the importance of unified families and a solution for Dreamers. Thousands of evangelical women and hundreds of local pastors have signed on to a June 1 letter Evangelical Immigration Table leaders sent to President Trump, urging his administration to reverse the policy that separates families.

Despite a record number of refugees worldwide. the country is on pace to admit fewer than 22,000 refugees in 2018, down from nearly 100,000 in 2016 and more than 200,000 in 1980.

The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:

Jennifer Foy, Executive Director, World Relief Triad (High Point, N.C.):
“The dramatic decline in refugee admissions over the past year has directly contributed to the crisis we’re seeing at the border today. With far fewer opportunities to come lawfully as a refugee — after applying abroad and undergoing a thorough screening — more and more individuals facing very real threats of violence feel they have no choice but to make a difficult journey to the U.S. border to request asylum. That we’d then take their children from them is simply wrong.”

Kathryn Freeman, Director of Public Policy, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission:
“Each of the issues we discussed today — refugee resettlement, family separation along our border with Mexico, and Dreamers — are significant issues for Texas Baptists. I’m eager to share with Texas elected officials on Capitol Hill tomorrow why it’s so urgent that we find solutions.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“As a mother and a grandmother, I’m horrified by what our government is doing to children at the U.S.-Mexico border. We’re calling on the administration to reverse this ‘zero tolerance’ policy immediately, while also urging them to resume our nation’s historical role of leadership in resettling refugees.”

Helena Muliwa, former refugee from Burundi, resettled by World Relief Triad:
“I’m so thankful for this country for providing me, for the first time in 25 years, with a safe and secure place. While I’m grateful for my own sake, though, I’m mindful of the many other refugees, fleeing various conflicts around the world, who are not offered the same opportunity that I had. I’m praying our elected officials will listen.” 

Dr. Shirley Mullen, President, Houghton College, Houghton, N.Y.:
“Refugees are playing a key part in the economic and cultural revitalization of our northern cities like Buffalo and Utica. They are bringing to America in 2018 the same kind of renewing energy that refugees have always brought to America throughout its history. We strongly support the return to traditional higher levels of refugee resettlement. As we have worked to provide affordable and high-quality educational resources for refugees in Buffalo and Utica, we have found them to be among the most appreciative, energetic and grateful citizens of our country today. They are committed to investing in an America that will be better for all of us.”  

Trillia Newbell, Director for Community Engagement, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“For evangelicals, the Bible is our top authority. The Scriptures are clear that God loves and protects refugees and other immigrants. He cares for children. He made each person in his image, and their lives are worth protecting.” 

Kelly Rosati, Justice Liaison, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“Whether we’re talking about families showing up at the border right now or Dreamers who were brought here decades ago, we all ought to be able to agree that we should not punish children for the actions of their parents. I personally think those parents are heroic, seeking to provide safety and a future for their kids. But, even for those who disagree, we ought all agree that we should not punish children for their parents’ decisions, nor use these kids’ as a political bargaining chip.”

Ava Steaffens, CEO, Christian Community Development Association:
“Having grown up in a family who came to the U.S. as refugees from Cuba, these issues are deeply important to me personally. For the thousands of local ministries that are a part of the Christian Community Development Association, these are concerns that affect us every day. I’m praying that our elected leaders will act quickly to reverse harmful administration policies that are diving families at the border and dramatically restricting the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and that Congress will work together on a bipartisan basis to find a permanent, inclusive solution for Dreamers without draconian cuts to legal immigration options.”

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