The Common Good

Next Steps toward Immigration Reform

Recently, a group of evangelical leaders, including Jim Wallis of Sojourners, launched the Evangelical Immigration Table and offered a set of principles for immigration reform that include:

  • 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”

After announcing these principles, Sojourners asked Christians across the country to add their endorsement. More than 10,000 people have now signed their name! If you haven’t added your name yet, you can still do so here.

This effort is already making a difference: President Obama signed an executive order that will grant work permits to young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives.

Washington is starting to listen. OR as Jim Wallis says, the winds are changing.

The Supreme Court also struck down three of the four provisions from Arizona’s SB1070 law, confirming that immigration policy is the federal government’s responsibility to create and enact.

The Department of Homeland Security and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a rule that would waive the 3- to 10-year ban for relatives of U.S. citizens. This change would reduce the length of time families are separated by allowing a U.S. citizen’s spouse or child to apply for the family unity waiver within the U.S., permitting the family to remain united as it awaits a decision on the waiver.

Last week, California passed a law, blocking local police from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation “unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony” (Reuters).

Dreamers are stoically brave, publicly speaking out on behalf of their peers day in and day out.

We do believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God’s image. As Christians and as a society, we have to look out for those that have been pushed to the margins, pushed in between the signs “No trespassing” and “Help wanted.” We need to make policies to protect those who have been trafficked here as well as those that have been brought here, yet have nowhere else to go.

The first step to solving the road block in Congress is acknowledging that there is bipartisan support for immigration reform. We can protect our borders while also protecting our economy through guest worker programs. We can uphold family values by keeping mixed-status families together. Sensible, fair immigration reform remains the goal, but these recent developments are important steps down the pathway of progress. 

 

James Colten is Campaigns Assistant at Sojourners. Follow James on Twitter @JamesColten.

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