Evangelicals Urge Solutions as Senate Considers Plight of Dreamers

Authored by the Evangelical Immigration Table and originally published on evangelicalimmigrationtable.com

A coalition of evangelical denominations and organizations recently submitted a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of a hearing about undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. 

The letter notes evangelical Christians’ longstanding commitments to finding lasting solutions for Dreamers, including the roughly 530,000 current recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), whose temporary protections from deportation and employment authorization are imperiled by current legal challenges.

“Dreamers are leading in our churches and our communities. They are studying in our universities and creating jobs for American workers. They are paying taxes. These young people have shown through their great determination and fortitude that our nation is better off because of their presence,” the letter reads. “We hope that you will work to find solutions that allow these young people to stay in our country long term and continue to be a blessing to our communities.”

The leaders acknowledge “the urgent need for other immigration policy reforms, including solutions at the U.S.-Mexico border,” but write, “Congress could address multiple challenges at once – and evangelical Christians want them to do so.” A February 2024 Lifeway Research study of evangelicals’ views on immigration found that 80% of evangelicals would support immigration reforms that include improvements to border security and a way for Dreamers to earn citizenship.  

The following are quotes from leaders of evangelical organizations who signed the letter:

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:

“Some two million children born in other countries have grown up and lived most of their lives in America. No one wants to see these neighbors, friends and coworkers deported to a country they barely know. But until Congress acts to provide permanent work authorization and a path to citizenship, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over their heads. We can do better as a nation, and we must.”

Raymond Chang, President, Asian American Christian Collaborative: 

“For Asian-American Christians, a solution for Dreamers is not just a theoretical concern, but a personal concern that impacts members of our congregations and ministries. Of the roughly 2.3 million immigrants who would qualify for a path to citizenship under the most recent version of the Dream Act, cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, 370,000 were born in Asian countries. I’m thankful for the opportunity to join other Christian leaders in urging the Congress to act quickly to pass legislation such as the Dream Act.”

Myal Greene, President & CEO, World Relief:

“In the midst of a contentious campaign season, there are few issues on which there is more consensus than the idea that DACA recipients and other Dreamers should have the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status and citizenship in the United States, the country most consider their home, where they are already contributing richly. Whether as a stand-alone bill or or bundled with other urgent immigration policy reforms, Congress should act immediately to ensure Dreamers can remain permanently in the United States.”

Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU):

“We pray the committee takes this opportunity to move legislation forward that provides stability and certainty for Dreamers and allows our CCCU students who are undocumented to continue their education, ultimately using their talents to serve the kingdom of God without fear of deportation.”

Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition: 

“Congress has been debating various versions of the Dream Act since 2001, without resolution. Now, given legal challenges to the DACA program, members of our churches and communities who have been living and working lawfully in the United States for more than a decade face the possibility of having their employment authorization withdrawn and being put at risk of deportation, harming them, their families, their employers and their churches. I pray that this week’s hearing will spur long-overdue action on legislation.”


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