Evangelical Groups Urge Congress to Codify Obama's Dreamers Action for Undocumented Immigrants

U.S. Immigration Reform
Latinos protest in favor of comprehensive immigration reform on the West side of Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2013. |

Evangelical groups are calling upon Congress to pass a bipartisan bill inspired by President Barack Obama's executive order that attempted to extend certain legal protections to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Known as the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act, or BRIDGE Act, the bill was introduced last month and has since garnered support from multiple evangelical Christian groups.

One of these groups was The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of CCCU, sent a letter last week to the bill's cosponsors, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

"Since the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was first introduced in 2001, the CCCU has expressed its support at every opportunity," wrote Hoogstra.

"Without legislation like the BRIDGE or DREAM acts, children who were brought to the United States illegally through no fault of their own will continue to be subject to the consequences of federal immigration law that provides no clear path to citizenship, or even legal residency, in the country that these children often have lived in for most or all of their lives."

CCCU also noted in its letter its connection to the Evangelical Immigration Table, abiding by its principles of "respecting the dignity of every person; protecting family unity; respecting the rule of law; ensuring fairness to taxpayers; guaranteeing secure national borders; and establishing a path toward legal status or citizenship."

The Stranger, Evangelical Immigration Table
Film still from, "The Stranger," a documentary about immigration in America produced by the Evangelical Immigration Table. Premier date is June 4, 2014. |

"As educators, we want to support ambitious, driven, intelligent students who have dreams of contributing to their communities and want to pursue an education, and we do not believe they should be disqualified from doing so because of acts they did not commit," continued Hoogstra.

World Relief, a charity established by the National Association of Evangelicals, also lent their voice of support for the BRIDGE Act.

In a statement released last month, World Relief said they applauded the bill, saying that it was consistent with the Bible's call to treat the foreigner with dignity.

"As a Christian organization, our concern for the well-being of these young people is rooted in our biblical convictions. Scripture makes clear that God has a particular concern for those who are vulnerable, including the foreign-born," stated World Relief.

"This legislation will allow them to continue to use the gifts and talents that God has given each of them by continuing their employment, investing in education, providing for their families and serving their churches and communities."

Also co-sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., according to Politico, the BRIDGE Act would among other things "allow at least 740,000 young immigrants who have gotten deportation reprieves and work permits under Obama to keep those benefits for three more years if they are revoked."

"Trump has said he would undo Obama's executive action, known formally as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and has not backed off that pledge publicly," reported Politico.

"But the president-elect has taken a noticeably softer tone toward Dreamers, praising them in a Time magazine interview published this week and noting that 'they're in never-never land because they don't know what's going to happen.'"

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