A Breitbart.com article recently highlighted the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), an organization credited with persuading multiple governors to allow refugees to resettle in their states. The article also suggested the group has ties to the progressive billionaire George Soros. A number of blogs have circulated these rumors, charging the group and those affiliated with it as advancing an “open borders” mass immigration agenda. These claims have proved to be false.
What is EIT?
EIT is a nonpartisan coalition of evangelical groups who partner together to advocate for a bipartisan solution on immigration. According to EIT’s Statement of Principles, the group advocates for a solution that respects the God-given dignity of every person, protects the unity of the immediate family, respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, ensures fairness to taxpayers, and establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents. In 2013, a resolution at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention drew directly from the EIT Statement of Principles.
Who is part of EIT?
Several evangelical organizations serve as the formal “heads” of the coalition, including World Relief, the Assemblies of God, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Numerous individuals, while not a part of the coalition itself, have also joined EIT’s Statement of Principles as signatories. This includes Southern Baptist leaders Jason Allen, Danny Akin, Ronnie Floyd, Kevin Ezell, J.D. Greear, Johnny Hunt, Bryant Wright, Jack Graham, Fred Luter, James Merritt and many others.
What is the ERLC’s role in EIT?
The ERLC frequently participates with coalition groups on issues important to Southern Baptists. ERLC’s work with a coalition does not signify agreement with the other coalition members on every issue.
As such, the ERLC continues to work with other members of EIT to advocate for a solution to immigration reform. The ERLC originally partnered with EIT under the leadership of then-president Richard Land, partly in response to the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2011 resolution, “On Immigration and the Gospel,” which called for a just and compassionate solution to immigration reform. Messengers to the 2018 SBC annual meeting likewise passed a resolution “On Immigration,” and current ERLC president Russell Moore has remained part of the coalition, advocating for immigration reform as stated in both the 2011 and 2018 resolutions.
Does George Soros fund EIT or the ERLC?
Some accusing EIT, or member groups of EIT, as being “Soros-funded” point out that EIT is supported by the National Immigration Forum, and that an organization chaired by George Soros had awarded grant money to the National Immigration Forum – which is true. However, the grant in question represented just 2 percent of National Immigration Forum’s overall budget, and further, EIT has never received or utilized any money from either George Soros or a Soros foundation.
Additionally, the ERLC has never funded or been funded by EIT or NIF. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum confirmed this in a statement to Baptist Press: “Quite simply, there has never been a single penny from George Soros that has gone toward the work of the Evangelical Immigration Table.” Likewise, ERLC has never received funding from Soros. The fact-checking website Snopes.com published a piece in December 2019 debunking this same Soros charge aimed at another evangelical organization. The article describes the Soros accusation as consisting of “convoluted connections,” claims the charges, “stretch and distort the existing facts,” are “factually insupportable” and “simply false.”