Evangelical group offers proposal to end gov't shutdown in letters to Trump, Congress

Demonstrators protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration today scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects from deportation almost 800,000 young men and women who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children, in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

An evangelical group that seeks to promote immigration reform has called upon President Donald Trump and Congress to end the government shutdown through what it described as a “Bipartisan Immigration Compromise.”

For the past few weeks, the federal government has been on a partial shutdown since Dec. 22 due to the failure of the president and Congress to agree on a budget. The main issue has been funding for the southern border wall that Trump promised to build for security purposes but Democrats oppose.

The Evangelical Immigration Table sent an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress on Monday urging them to hammer out a compromise that would give both sides something they want. Both secure the border and provide a path to citizenship for those in the nation who meet certain requirements, EIT proposed. 

“The Scriptures both instruct a respect for the rule of law – which is diminished when immigration laws are violated without consequence – and mandate our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable immigrants and their families, many of whom are longstanding members of local churches throughout the United States,” stated the letter.

 The letter referenced the Table’s six principles on immigration reform, namely that such a reform “Respects the God-given dignity of every person,” “Protects the unity of the immediate family,” “Respects the rule of law,” “Guarantees secure national borders,” “Ensures fairness to taxpayers,” and “Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.”

“Such a compromise would require both sides to accept provisions that may not be universally popular with their most fervent supporters, but it would resolve a longstanding problem and should also allow our federal government to re-open,” continued the letter.

Signees of the letter included Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; World Relief President Scott Arbeiter; Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Hyepin Im, president & CEO of Faith and Community Empowerment; Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador and general superintendent emerita of the Wesleyan Church; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Edgar Sandoval, president of World Vision U.S.; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Earlier this month, Rodriguez released a similar statement calling upon members of Congress to pass a budget that will “fund the wall” and “give us DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals].”

DACA was an Obama administration-era program that gave legal status to unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors.

“We can and we must seize upon one of the great debates of our time, and chisel from the hard stone of division just the sort of compromise which has built the foundations of our national unity so many times before,” Rodriguez stated.

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