Prominent Evangelicals Praise Immigration Policy Change
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Washington, DC, June 15, 2012
Obama administration officials announced plans today to immediately grant administrative relief to young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act. Those who qualify will not be deported and will be granted work permits. This sweeping rule change comes the same week that more than 150 evangelical leaders, including Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly, came together in an unprecedented manner to launch the Evangelical Immigration Table and call for immigration reform.
Several signatories to the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform spoke in favor of the decision:
The Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World
“Bread for the World welcomes President Obama’s announcement of policy changes that could allow almost a million young people to pursue opportunities and the American dream. We encourage bipartisan efforts for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform and U.S. efforts to address global poverty — the main driver of unauthorized immigration.”
Dr. David Fleming, Senior Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church (Houston)
“No amnesty, not citizenship, but a humane and common-sense decision on behalf of the children who were brought here through no action nor fault of their own. Now our government can focus more resources on finding those who are a real threat to our national security and to our way of life.”
Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
“This new policy is good news for America and is good news for undocumented young adults who came to America through the choice of others. It is the right thing to do. I hope that the Congress will quickly follow with a just and compassionate reform of our entire system of immigration. Our country has already waited a long time to get our immigration laws fixed. This is an encouraging first step.”
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
"Today's announcement by the Obama Administration protecting Dream Act–eligible young people from deportation is morally just, welcomed, practical, fair and worthy of celebration. As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day this weekend, this announcement presents the antidote to the unfortunate separation of families. I applaud the president for his decision to protect the innocent who currently pay the price for a broken immigration system. Let me reiterate, Justice at times marches, at times protests and at times sings. Yet, Justice will always speak on behalf of those that cannot speak for themselves. Today, Justice spoke loud and clear: The dreams of all children stand worthy of protection."
Stephan Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief
“We commend the administration's leadership at a crucial time. Today's executive order is an encouraging step for immigrant families and a milestone for our country. Let's build upon this new momentum toward comprehensive reform. Creating a better life for immigrants fulfills a biblical, moral, and humane vision. Together, we can realize this vision."
The Rev. Luis Cortés Jr., President, Esperanza
"Today, the Obama administration’s announcement to stop the deportation of undocumented people age 30 and under who meet certain eligibility criteria and are in school, graduated, or U.S. veterans will have an immediate impact on almost a million eligible children and young adults. Hundreds of thousands of these young people arrived here through no fault of their own, were raised in the United States, and for all intents and purposes are Americans in their culture, language, and life experience. We applaud President Obama for providing thousands of young people with the opportunity to truly thrive, as a recognized and integrated piece of our country’s vibrant tapestry. This was a decision based in common-sense understanding of what will make our families, communities, and country stronger. We know that this is a stop-gap measure designed to address just one piece of a much larger problem. This action was necessary due to the failure of Congress to pass any kind of immigration reform in the past 12 years, despite the overwhelming support of the public for reform and many versions of legislation that were drafted and then left by the wayside. This is unquestionably a victory. But this announcement should signal the first step of many, to resolve the problems of our broken system holistically and across the board, and to usher in a new kind of order, peace, safety, and collective well-being in our great nation of immigrants."
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association
"Today's action by DHS and the Obama administration to offer deferred action from deportation for Dreamers, along with the ability to work legally, is a hugely important step toward fixing our current immigration system. We applaud the president and Secretary Napolitano for taking this bold step."
The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
“Secretary Napolitano's announcement today is a welcome decision. As evangelicals committed to common-sense and humane immigration policies, we remain hopeful. Young immigrants have much to offer this nation and we stand behind them. We now call on Republicans and Democrats to roll up their sleeves and provide long-term legislative solutions.”
Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners
“The announcement from the White House today is very good news for 1 million young people who have a dream of staying in the country where they have lived most of their lives. Instead of being placed in the deportation pipeline, they will receive work permits enabling them to contribute to the nation and help build America’s future. This is an important step but only a beginning toward comprehensive reform of an utterly broken immigration system. This week a very broad and deep table of evangelical leaders called on the political leaders of both parties to fix that broken system and protect ‘the stranger’ whom Christ calls us to defend. As evangelicals we love the ‘good news’ of the gospel, and today we affirm this good news that gives hope and a future for young immigrants who are an important part of both the church and this country.”
Robert Gittelson, Co-Founder, Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
"As conservatives who have long advocated for the legislative changes to our immigration laws that have been administratively put into place today by the Obama administration, we are encouraged by today’s important development. Certainly this will offer much-needed relief to our suffering communities, and especially to the young people affected under this directive. However, we remain concerned that this fix is only a temporary solution. It is not codified by law, and could be subject to change or elimination by future administrations. Therefore, we are calling on all members of Congress to act quickly and decisively in a bipartisan manner to pass true legislative relief along similar language that was prescribed in today’s administrative action."
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kristen Y. Archer, Acting Manager for Media Relations, 202-688-1118