Evangelical Pastors Descend On D.C. To Lobby Congress To Fix Biden's Immigration Nightmare

Written By BlabberBuzz | Sunday, 08 May 2022 16:45
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More than 200 evangelical leaders are calling on members of the U.S. Congress this week to repair what they described as a “broken immigration system” by laboring to pass immigration reform, which they assert is consistent with their Christian calling to embrace “radical hospitality.”

The pastors, faith leaders, and activists participated in around 50 meetings with U.S. Senators or their staffs Tuesday and Wednesday, with meetings transpiring virtually and on Capitol Hill. The meetings took place days after a group of bipartisan senators reportedly met last week to debate prospects of passing immigration reform this year.

Derwin Gray, the head pastor of Transformation Church South Carolina and a prominent voice in the multiethnic church movement, was among the many who partook in the meetings. The Evangelical Immigration Table and other faith-based organizations sponsored a press conference Tuesday, where faith leaders discussed their efforts.

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Gray expressed a desire for “smart, reasonable immigration reform that secures our borders and secures the dignity and worth of human beings.”

Gray, the author of the book How to Heal Our Racial Divide, called for action to protect “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. He called specifically for “a pathway to citizenship.” The pastor emphasized that he was not calling for “amnesty" and that his views on immigration align with “his core values as a follower of Jesus."

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“[E]very single human being is worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love," Gray said, concluding by pushing for immigration laws that reflect “how great our country actually is, with reasonable policies so that lives can be transformed.”

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Moderating the discussion during the press conference was Galen Carey of the National Association of Evangelicals, which “brings together more than 40 denominations from a wide range of evangelical traditions and many other evangelical organizations, schools, and networks."

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“Today and tomorrow, more than 200 evangelical pastors and leaders are meeting with their members of Congress and staff … to talk with their leaders about the urgent need for action for bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform proposals, which are before the United States Congress,” Carey explained.

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Along with Carey, pastors and individuals associated with faith-based charities who are among those meeting with members of Congress delivered their own remarks at the event.

Kathryn Freeman of the evangelical refugee resettlement organization World Relief, the humanitarian arm of NAE, also advocated on behalf of Dreamers, declaring that they are “valuable to our churches." She described them as “young men and women who have served their country” and churches by volunteering as “Sunday school leaders” and “youth leaders.”

“We’re concerned that they might not be able to stay in the country they love, the only place they have ever known,” Freeman insisted. “Dreamers deserve a place in our country and they deserve a place in our churches.”

Pastor Reid Kapple of Christ Community Church in Olathe, Kansas, detailed his wish list for immigration which includes reform extends beyond a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers to include “a permanent pathway for the thousands of Afghan refugees" brought to the U.S.

Kapple is grateful for the “immediacy of bringing these evacuees" to the U.S. amid the Taliban's rise after the U.S. military departed from the country last year. He noted Afghan refugees find themselves in a “very unfortunate and ultimately unhelpful status as parolees.”

“That status only has a two-year shelf life to it,” Kapple said. “As of this day, Congress has no action to provide a permanent clear pathway forward for these new neighbors of ours.”

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