BREAKING: Relief, Work Permits Offered to Certain Immigrants



According to the Associated Press

"The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. … The policy change, described to The Associated Press by two senior administration officials, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants who have lived in fear of deportation. It also bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act, a long-sought but never enacted plan to establish a path toward citizenship for young people who came to the United States illegally but who have attended college or served in the military."

Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, has been at the forefront, pushing for changes to immigration policies that rip apart families. Wallis released the following statement on Friday:

“The announcement from the White House today is very good news for 1 million young people who have a dream of staying in the country where they have lived most of their lives. Instead of being placed in the deportation pipeline, they will receive work permits enabling them to contribute to the nation and help build America’s future. This is an important step but only a beginning toward comprehensive reform of an utterly broken immigration system. This week a very broad and deep table of Evangelical leaders called on the political leaders of both parties to fix that broken system and protect ‘the stranger’ whom Christ calls us to defend. As Evangelicals we love the ‘good news’ of the gospel, and today we affirm this good news that gives hope and a future for young immigrants who are an important part of both the church and this country.”

Vargas: Journalist and Immigration Rights Activist

A year after publically admitting his status as an undocumented immigrant, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas writes for Time Magazine:

"There are an estimated 11.5 million people like me in this country, human beings with stories as varied as America itself, yet lacking a legal claim to exist here. It’s an issue that touches people of all ethnicities and backgrounds: Latinos and Asians, blacks and whites. (And, yes, undocumented immigrants come from all sorts of countries like Israel, Nigeria and Germany.) It’s an issue that goes beyond election-year politics and transcends the limitations of our broken immigration system and the policies being written to address them."

Read more and follow Time's coverage here

Immigration: Unity, Morality and Common Sense

Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis

Tuesday was a big day.

Nearly 150 evangelical leaders signed onto an “Evangelical Statement of Immigration Reform.” Signers came from across the spectrum of evangelicalism including leading Hispanic evangelical organizations, to pastors such as Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Joel Hunter, and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.

No, that isn’t a typo. Sojourners stood side by side with Focus on the Family to draw attention to the plight of millions who have been caught up in our broken immigration system. It was exciting to see such unity across the traditional political spectrum that rarely happens in Washington.

Make no mistake, there are still big gaps in theology and politics among those in this group. But Tuesday wasn’t about politics. Rather we focused on the things we agreed were fundamental moral issues and biblical imperatives. This coming together to help fix a broken immigration system on behalf of those who most suffer from it is just what politics needs and could begin to affect other issues, too.

Instead of ideology, we came together because of morality and common sense. And that’s what leaders are supposed to do.

The Atlantic: Give Us Your Geniuses

From The Atlantic, a plea for an immigration policy that encourages the movement of high-skilled foreign nationals to the United States:

In this age of extreme polarization, it seems unlikely that there would be an issue where the benefits were so large and the correct course of action so clear that it would unite liberals and conservatives, allowing Democratic and Republican congressmen to pause in their struggle and rocket it through Congress. But it is not wishful thinking. There exists such a policy. The United States must admit many more high-skilled immigrants.

Read the full article here

Immigrant Discrimination Through a Child's Eyes

Ryan Rodrick Beiler /

Photo: White House march for immigration reform in 2009. Ryan Rodrick Beiler /

My second grader helped me understand that the story of Harriet Tubman is still being lived out today in the lives of Latino families in my school and across the country.

Mary Bauer and Sarah Reynolds authored the report “Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South for the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

They explain, "Latinos in the South—many of whom came here to escape crushing poverty in their home countries—are encountering wide-spread hostility, discrimination and exploitation."

This report helps us understand the struggle for life that many of our Latino students take on, a clandestine struggle like the one Harriet Tubman made all those years ago.

Evangelical Leaders Announce Immigration Table Launch

Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

Evangelical leaders close in prayer at the Evangelical Immigration Table launch. Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

Church leaders today gathered in Washington, D.C., to announce the launch of the Evangelical Immigration Table – a broad coalition of organizations, churches and pastors from across the political and religious spectrum coming together to advance a cohesive immigration reform message.

The Immigration Table was launched at a press conference, with speakers including Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis, Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Association of Latino Evangelicals and Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, setting out a common set of principles reflecting the common ground that all members of the Table have found on the issue of immigration.

Read on to view photos from the press conference.

LIVE STREAM: Evangelical Leaders Unite on Principles for Immigration Reform

Evangelical leaders from across the political and religious spectrum meet today to call for immigration reform based on a set of five principles: 

  • 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

Watch the live stream from Capitol Hill, beginning at 11:30 EDT HERE:


Compassion in the Midst of Poverty

Child hand illustration, Christopher Jones /

Child hand illustration, Christopher Jones /

When I walk into Paola's first-grade classroom, I'm aware of her poverty. Nine out of 10 of the students at our school meet the federal poverty level guidelines. She is one of them.

She lives in a small apartment with her grandma, mom, sister and uncle; they make less than $26,170 a year.

As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman reminds us, she is all too likely to suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health care, an inferior education and a bad future.

I'm struggling against her life-crushing poverty with all of the compassion, creativity and commitment within me.

Yes, I'm aware of her poverty. Today, however, I don't see it.

Alabama Pastor's Take on Latest Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Photo by Kathryn Kendrick, Greater Birmingham Ministries

HB 658 protest at the Alabama state house. Photo by Kathryn Kendrick, Greater Birmingham Ministries

Here we are today, caught in an economic slump, finding ways to once again dehumanize those that we encouraged to come. The very people who have harvested our food, built our homes and served us over the past 30-plus years, we now declare criminals.

In my beloved Alabama, where 3 percent of the population (largely Hispanic) is estimated to be undocumented, our state government has created the harshest and most egregious anti-immigrant laws in the country. Rep. Micky Hammon and Sen. Scott Beason, sponsors and writers of HB56, stated that these laws would create an atmosphere of “self deportation.” I can only wonder how Native Americans might feel about that concept.

HB56 — passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley in June 2011 — has now been replaced by HB658. The stated purpose of the new legislation was to simplify HB56 and make enforcement less complicated. In the process, stricter guidelines and harsher treatment were incorporated while simplification was ignored.

I am compelled to look at this law as a child of God within the Christian faith, accepting that all people in this world are my brothers and sisters, created by the God who breathed life into me and into them, making us one family.

Hundreds Protest Alabama Immigration Law

Courtesy Greater Birmingham Ministries

Courtesy Greater Birmingham Ministries

Hundreds of Alabamians gathered at the state Capitol grounds after their legislators passed HB 658, a harsher version of now infamous anti-immigrant HB56.

HB658 calls for the creation of an online public database to expose individuals’ identities. The database would list the names of all undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court. In addition, the law targets innocent children by requiring schools to check the immigration status of students. It is both reckless and morally indefensible.