More than 200 evangelical leaders joined Congress meetings to petition new legislation surrounding what they described as a "broken immigration system" to embrace their Christian calling, "radical hospitality."
Baptist News reported that the faith-based strike was organized by the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief, the Evangelical Immigration Table, and the Alliance for a New Immigration Consensus. Christians in the line of business, education, and civic groups united themselves in support of strong border protections and push for more compassionate treatment of Dreamers, migrant workers, refugees, and asylum seekers.
The pastors, faith leaders, and activists participated in approximately 50 meetings with U.S. Senators or their staffs Tuesday and Wednesday, with meetings occurring virtually and on Capitol Hill, The Christian Post reported.
Lead Pastor of Transformation Church South Carolina Derwin Gray looks forward to seeing "smart, reasonable immigration reform that not only secures our borders ... but also secures the dignity and worth of human beings." His call for immigrant reform will protect the "dreamers." The legislation will provide illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children "a pathway to citizenship."
Kathryn Freeman of the evangelical refugee resettlement organization "World Relief" said that the Dreamers were "valuable to their churches" as they were "young men and women who have served the country" by volunteering as leaders in different ministries. Freeman pointed out these refugees might not be able to stay in the country, knowing that the country was the only place they've known. She emphasized that they deserve to remain in the country and their churches.
Pastor Reid Kapple of Christ Community Church hopes the reform would give "a permanent pathway" for the thousands of Afghan refugees brought to the U.S. While, Pastor of the Spanish-language congregation, Manuel Mendoza said that the reform they're seeking from Congress would impact many members of his congregation.
Role of Immigrants to Nation's Growth
Based on the data from U.S. Census Bureau, there were roughly 45 million immigrants in the United States in 2017, which means immigrants make up 14 percent of the population. According to the 2018 Current Population Survey, 28 percent of the overall U.S. population were immigrants or their U.S.-born children.
According to the Open Society Foundation, two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have been residing in the United States for more than 10 years, and many of them have U.S. citizen children. The report said that the United States has been legislating "restrictive exclusionary laws" such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the National Origins Act of 1924, and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
With the looming issues behind immigration policies, the faith-based blitz happened after a group of bipartisan senators was in talks last week to discuss options for passing long-fraught immigration reform this year.
Senator Tom Tillis called to set aside politics to come up with a good policy that would help the economy and lessen the burden on people. As to what the National Academy of Sciences said, "immigration is an integral part of the nation's economic growth."