Evangelical Leaders Urge Congress To Pursue Legislation That Secures Borders, Respects Migrants’ Legal Protections
As the House Judiciary Committee considers legislation seeking to address the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, evangelical leaders sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to pursue policies that improve border security but do not erode or eliminate existing legal protections for asylum seekers or unaccompanied children.
“As pastors and ministry leaders, we urge you to consider these two principles – ensuring secure borders and respecting the God-given dignity of each person,” the letter says. “And to oppose proposals that would either make our borders less secure or would erode existing legal protections for those vulnerable to persecution, human trafficking or other significant harm.”
Evangelical Christians believe that God has made each person in his image with inherent dignity. Consequently, the letter states, “human life is worth protecting, regardless of one’s nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender or any other factor.” Reflecting this biblical principle, the leaders insist that the U.S. government should treat all people humanely, ensure due process for those who profess a credible fear of persecution and are seeking asylum under the terms of U.S. law, and preserve existing legal protections for vulnerable unaccompanied children.
Evangelical leaders also note that, while border challenges are significant and require congressional response, there are also other urgent priorities impacting a range of immigrant communities already living in the United States. Many of these groups are in need of permanent legal status that only Congress can provide, including Dreamers, Afghan and other humanitarian parolees, and long-term beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status.
The following are quotes from leaders of some of the evangelical organizations that signed the letter:
Myal Greene, President & CEO, World Relief:
“The U.S. government has a moral and legal obligation to offer due process to those who reach our borders who profess a credible fear of persecution if returned to their country of origin. As an evangelical Christian, I view this commitment as rooted in the belief that each human being is made in the image of God and thus that each life is worth protecting. Even as our Congress rightly considers proposals to better protect American citizens by ensuring more secure borders, they must not abandon or roll back the legal commitment to offer refuge to those who have fled persecution.”
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“A great country like the United States should be able to secure its borders while still treating all people with dignity, protecting extremely vulnerable children from threats of trafficking and violence and honoring our laws that offer asylum to those who have fled a credible fear of persecution. I pray that our Congress will reject any proposal that betrays our national commitment to those who are vulnerable.”
Walter Kim, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Jesus taught that anyone in need is our neighbor (Luke 10:29–37). So, we continue to support efforts to ensure secure borders and adequate legal protection for migrants. These families need our help, and they have the potential to bless our nation. As we hear their often-tragic stories and witness the vibrancy of immigrant congregations, we recognize to a greater degree the urgent need for Congress to find solutions that summon our compassion and offer better solutions at the border and abroad.”
Matthew Soerens, National Coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table:
“It’s possible to both be for secure borders and for due process for asylum seekers, protecting unaccompanied kids from violence and trafficking and treating all people humanely. Congress needs to work together on a bipartisan basis to find legislative solutions that do both.”