Principles for Immigration Reform

"Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform

From the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) website:

At a time when immigration has become a partisan talking point for campaigns on both sides of the aisle, these Christian leaders are uniting to call on Democrats and Republicans to lead our nation to a bipartisan solution on immigration.

Evangelical leaders formally announced the creation of an "Evangelical Immigration Table" to advance a cohesive immigration reform message and strategy while building political will in the pews. The "Table" was more than one year in the making and represents an unprecedented coalition of evangelicals from diverse political and theological backgrounds. The leaders made the case that humane immigration reform should be a moral priority and told stories of how concerted outreach to evangelical churches and colleges is already shifting opinions on immigration reform among the evangelical grassroots.

This is the heart of the brief document.

As evangelical Christian leaders, we call for a bipartisan solution on immigration 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
• Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

This is a good document for what it sets out to do. The strength of this document is its brevity; the weakness of this document is its brevity. That simply is the way it works. If the document would have become much longer, it would not be as useful. As it is, the concern and criticism is that it is too simple. However, remembering its intent, it must be read as general principles, not specifics. It is these general principles that ought to frame the specific outworking of immigration reform.

Joe Carter, “Evangelical Leaders Call for Immigration Reform” (June 15, 2012): , is one who affirms the evangelical leaders for their attempt to find bi-partisan agreement and for their commitment to provide a framework by which evangelicals ought to process this issue. But his concern is that it is “too vaguely worded to be of use as a guiding document on actual policy.” My guess is that most evangelical leaders who drafted and have since signed this document would agree. But this limitation does not negate the importance and usefulness of these principles.

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