This blog provides the rationale for Evangelical Christians to support comprehensive immigration reform. Now, I realize that there are still a lot of Evangelicals that are opposed to such reform. But I am also convinced that when sincerely devoted followers of Jesus Christ are fully informed about the big picture, most of them will change their minds and soften their hearts (and it probably won’t necessarily happen in that order).
For those of us who are already supportive of such reform, here’s a strategic opportunity for us to really make a difference on a public issue about which the Scriptures provide a number of clear principles, namely how we should treat the strangers and immigrants among us (see The Wesleyan Church’s Position Statement on Immigration).
For those who are still wondering how Evangelicals can support this position, check out the Call of the National Association of Evangelicals for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As you prayerfully read this document, please keep in mind that this statement was drafted and supported by the top leaders of Evangelicals in our country.
So, how can we make a difference? Each one of us can write our government representatives and urge them to seek comprehensive immigration reform. Below is a letter sent to Indiana’s two senators and their responses, which are now a matter of public record.
If you agree, would you please take a few moments to send this letter to your senators and representatives? This action will raise their awareness and help to clarify their commitment to address this situation that is deeply affecting the thousands of innocent dependents of undocumented immigrants.
This link http://restorefairness.org provides the following form letter which can be e-mailed to your senators and representatives:
(Form letter, slightly edited from the original version)
I am writing to urge you to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill to fix the broken immigration system. Any new immigration policy should respect American values of due process and fairness.
I hope you will ensure that new immigration policies will do the following:
1. Codify detention standards to provide humane conditions, medical care and legal counsel and stop the senseless deaths;
2. Provide secure alternatives to detention so that we stop locking up harmless individuals, children and people with severe medical conditions;
3. Enable judges to review DHS (department of homelands security) decisions and practices to prevent abuse and human rights violations;
4. Create a fair path to citizenship for the millions of hardworking individuals and families who live here.
You have a historic opportunity in the new year to demonstrate true American leadership, and uphold our founding values.
I look forward to your leadership on this urgent issue.
RESPONSES FROM INDIANA’S SENATORS:
So how will our senators and representatives respond to this call for action? For Indiana, we already have two responses.
SENATOR EVAN BAYH’S COMMITMENT (or embarrassing lack of one):
Below is the response of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
Subject: From the Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Date: Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 2:19 PM
Dear Ms. Wilson:
Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration reform. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns on this serious issue.
After thorough consideration and listening to the concerns of people with strongly held views on both sides of this issue, I voted against the immigration bill (S. 1639).
The legislation ultimately failed by fourteen votes and was removed from further consideration by the Senate.
America is a nation of immigrants, and it is true that we must resolve the fact that 12 million undocumented immigrants currently live and work in this country.
But America is also a nation of laws, and our current immigration system is badly broken. Unfortunately, this deeply flawed plan does not secure our borders, does not respect family unity, and does not deal fairly with the hard-working immigrants who are already living here.
I voted 'no' because the Senate's approach is not a long-term answer to this country's undocumented immigration problem. We must find a sustainable solution so that we do not return to this divisive debate again and again every few years. The approach rejected would have left us with broken borders and broken immigrant families, driving our country further apart instead of closer together. Americans and those who long to be Americans deserve a better solution than that.
Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should similar legislation be considered in the future.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope the information I have provided is helpful. My website http://bayh.senate.gov, can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.
Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Washington, D.C. 20510
SENATOR BAYH'S NON-COMMITTAL RESPONSE BEGS A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: So what will be your next steps? This is a huge opportunity for you to be a proactive problem solver. Just keeping our “thoughts in mind should similar legislation be considered in the future…” is hardly an acceptable response for someone that we sent to Washington to look for solutions.
SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR—A TRUE STATESMAN:
On the other hand, in this traditionally conservative Republican state with highly vocal radical elements opposing immigration reform, Senator Richard Lugar’s response below regarding this issue is another evidence that he is a true statesman.
Dear Ms. Wilson:
Thank you for contacting me. I share your support for comprehensive immigration reform.
I have emphasized that immigration policy should be updated in a comprehensive way to provide some realistic solution to the status of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. I support measures to increase border security and enforcement, some provisions for a guest worker program, and a plan for potential earned citizenship - behind those who are here legally - for appropriate workers that pay fines, pass a thorough background check, and undergo extensive preparation for citizenship, including learning American civics and the English language. I also support the DREAM Act, a proposal to authorize the adjustment of status of alien college-bound students who are long-term residents.
I will continue to work closely with my colleagues in the Senate to address these important issues.
Thank you, again, for taking the time to contact me.
Richard G. Lugar
United States Senator
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