Washington, D.C. –Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, issued this statement today as President Obama prepares to sign an executive order that will reportedly provide relief from the risk of deportation to four million undocumented immigrants:
“We applaud President Obama’s decision to craft improvements within his authority to our confused and unnecessarily harsh immigration system.
“The president’s action is controversial and has important implications for our political parties. So we also want to acknowledge those Republican leaders in Congress who are trying to respond in a way that does not disrupt this year’s appropriations process.
“Our support of the president’s action is not about partisan politics. It’s about millions of families who will have some respite from worry and new opportunities to work their way out of poverty. It is about our faith; the Bible is clear on how we should treat immigrants. It is one piece of our commitment to opportunity for all people.
“Our research demonstrates the benefits to the United States that immigration provides. Our recent research in the nation’s Rust Belt and in Miami shows how immigration is revitalizing neighborhoods.
“The executive order is a momentous step in the right direction, but we need permanent legislation. We still look to Congress to reform immigration law. For example, Congress should move quickly – in the appropriations decisions it will make this month – to address the violence and poverty in Central America that is driving the flow of unaccompanied child immigrants.
“Bread for the World also has a special interest in agricultural workers – men and women who are among the poorest and most vulnerable immigrants, yet essential to putting food on our tables. The president judged that he didn’t have authority to reform the way that agricultural workers come into the country. That reform awaits congressional action.
“Immigration is a way that millions of people in our world are escaping hunger and poverty, and the flow of immigrants into this country is contributing to our nation’s economic health. Today’s executive order is a step in the right direction.”