Several Southern Baptist leaders are among a group of evangelicals who urged President Donald Trump and the United States Congress to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents.
The Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a coalition of Christian advocates for immigration reform, sent letters to President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Aug. 30, calling for legislative action to support recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), commonly called “Dreamers.”
The letters were initially endorsed by heads of EIT’s seven principal organizations, including Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. An online petition garnered more than 300 additional signatures in the first 48 hours of its release, according to EIT.
“It is long past time for Congress to work together to find a workable solution for our broken immigration system – especially for the hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to our country by their parents,” Moore said in an EIT press release.
“Many of these Dreamers have stepped forward in good faith. Congress should respond with a legislative solution that delivers on the promises made to these men and women and protects them from perpetual uncertainty. Let’s pray for a fair solution that highlights both justice and compassion.”
Recent news reports said the president and other White House officials would soon decide whether to phase out the Obama administration policy, which provides discretionary relief from deportation to about 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants.
The letter to President Trump said these young people have made a positive impact and “our nation is better off because of their presence.” The statement emphasized that DACA recipients have submitted to screening for criminal activity and do not threaten national security.
“We are grateful that you have repeatedly stated your strong support for these young immigrants, assuring them that they should ‘rest easy’ and that you were ‘not going to hurt those kids,’" the letter said. “We ask you to work with House and Senate leadership to develop and pass legislation to protect these young immigrants.”
The list of signatories who affirm EIT’s six core principles, which are reflected in the letters, include Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board; Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Richard Land, former president of the ERLC; David Allen, dean of the school of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Signatories also include several past presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention: Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas; Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.; Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La.; Bobby Welch, former pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Fla.; and others.
(EDITOR'S NOTE – This story was updated Sept. 3.)