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Immigration

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez y NHCLC Responden a La Decisión De La DACA

Los cristianos hispanos lanzarán una campaña nacional de 60 días en apoyo a los SUEÑOS, pondrán “Presión Incesante” en los miembros del Congreso hasta que “cada Soñador pueda Soñar de Nuevo”

“No tenemos la intención de dejar que un solo miembro del Congreso tenga una buena noche de descanso hasta que garantice que nuestros jóvenes puedan descansar tranquilos”. Rev. Samuel Rodríguez

SACRAMENTO, California – Hoy, a la luz de la decisión de la Casa Blanca sobre el DACA, la Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano y sus iglesias y organizaciones afiliadas, anuncia una campaña nacional con la intención de poner “presión constante” en “cada” permanente, la solución legislativa se proporciona para “DREAMers”.

“Cientos de miles de jóvenes hispanos serán superados con miedo y dolor hoy. Simultáneamente, una coalición multiétnica de decenas de millones de ciudadanos respetuosos de la ley, los ciudadanos estadounidenses comenzarán a ejercer una presión incesante sobre los miembros del Congreso para que proporcionen una solución permanente a los DREAMers, cuyo destino no es su culpa ” Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, Presidente de la Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano. “Durante mucho tiempo en este país, los jóvenes hispanos han sido las fichas políticas de nuestros poderosos políticos. Esto es una afrenta a la santidad de la vida, es inhumana, y la comunidad hispana ya no lo soportará. Nuestros miembros electos del Congreso tienen una y otra vez, profesan preocupación por la comunidad hispana y, sin embargo, han optado por no hacer nada. No distinguiremos entre republicanos y demócratas, sino entre los que defienden la justicia y la justicia y los que no lo hacen “.

Entre otras acciones, la Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano estará temporalmente trasladando personal adicional a Washington, D.C., lanzando una campaña nacional de medios de comunicación, reuniendo a decenas de miles de líderes espirituales de la nación, coordinando reuniones semanales en Capitol Hill y Capitolios Estatales. Además, el NHCLC organizará un “fly-in” de cientos de prominentes líderes hispanos de toda América del Norte para una reunión de oración en la noche del 30 de octubre, seguida de una serie de visitas al Congreso el 31 de octubre.

De la decisión del Presidente Donald J. Trump de eliminar el DACA, el Rev. Samuel Rodríguez dice lo siguiente:

“Estoy decepcionado de que estas protecciones estén terminando y he expresado esa decepción a la Casa Blanca directamente. También entiendo por qué eligieron este curso de acción. Si el destino de DAPA es una indicación, entonces era sólo cuestión de tiempo antes de que DACA se enfrentara a un destino similar en los tribunales y, de hecho, todo el programa podría ser cesado inmediatamente por una orden judicial en lugar de ser eliminado. Afortunadamente, es el trabajo del Congreso de hacer leyes, y ahora el Presidente ha proporcionado al Congreso una ventana de seis meses para legislar una solución más permanente y legalmente defendible para DREAMers. Seis meses es demasiado largo, vamos a exigir la acción del Congreso dentro de 60 días. No tenemos la intención de dejar que un solo miembro del Congreso tenga una buena noche de descanso hasta que garantice que nuestros jóvenes puedan estar tranquilos. No estaremos en silencio hasta que todos los Sueños puedan soñar de nuevo. “

La Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano es una organización no partidista que durante mucho tiempo ha sido contada entre los principales defensores de la reforma migratoria integral de la nación. Es la posición oficial de la organización que es primordialmente la responsabilidad del Congreso de abordar los viejos desafíos de la nación con la política de inmigración. En esa capacidad, el Rev. Samuel Rodríguez ha trabajado con las mayorías demócratas y republicanas en el Congreso, así como con los presidentes George W. Bush, Barack Obama y Donald J. Trump en la promoción de la reforma migratoria integral.

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El Rev. Samuel Rodríguez es presidente de la Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano. Ha sido nombrado por CNN y Fox News como “el líder del movimiento hispano-evangélico” y TIME Magazine lo nombró entre los 100 líderes más influyentes en América.

La Conferencia Nacional Hispana de Liderazgo Cristiano (NHCLC) es la organización reconocida e identificada por Time Magazine, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, Charisma Magazine, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, Fox News y CNN. medios de comunicación, publicaciones y publicaciones periódicas como la organización cristiana hispana / latina más grande de América con 40.118 iglesias certificadas en los Estados Unidos y en relación de pacto con ministerios e iglesias en América Latina y alrededor del mundo.

Sitio web | www.nhclc.org Twitter | @ nhclc

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Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Reacts to DACA Decision

Hispanic  Christians  to Launch  National  60-DayCampaign in  Support  of DREAMers,  Will  Put “Unrelenting  Pressure” on Members  of  Congress  Until “Every  DREAMer  can Dream Again”

“We  do  not  intend  on  letting  a  single member  of  Congress  have  a  good night’s  rest  until  they  guarantee  our young  people  can  rest  easy.” Rev. Samuel  Rodriguez

SACRAMENTO,  Calif.  —  Today, in  light  of  the White  House’s  decision on DACA,  the  National Hispanic  Christian  Leadership  Conference  and  its affiliate  churches  and  organizations, announces  a national  campaign  intent  on  putting  “unrelenting pressure”  on  “every”  member  of Congress  until  a permanent,  legislative  solution  is  provided  for “DREAMers.”

“Hundreds-of-thousands  of  Hispanic  young  people will  be  overcome  with  fear  and  grief today. Simultaneously,  a  multi-ethnic  coalition  of  tens-of-millions  of  law  abiding,  U.S.  citizens  will begin  to  put unrelenting  pressure  on  members  of  Congress  to provide  a  permanent  solution  for DREAMers, whose  fate  is  in  question  by  no  fault  of  their  own,”  said  Rev.  Samuel Rodriguez, President  of  the National Hispanic  Christian  Leadership  Conference.

“For  far  too  long  in  this country,  Hispanic  young people  have  been  the  political  bargaining  chips  of our  powerful politicians.  This  is  an  affront  to  the sanctity  of  life,  it  is  inhumane,  and  the  Hispanic community will  stand  for  it  no  longer.  Our  elected members  of  Congress  have  time  and  again, professed concern  for  the  Hispanic  community  and yet,  have  chosen  to  do  nothing.  We  will  not distinguish between  Republicans  and  Democrats but  between  those  who  stand  for  righteousness  and justice  and  those  who  do  not.”

Among  other  actions,  the  National  Hispanic. Christian  Leadership  Conference  will  be temporarily relocating  additional  staff  to  Washington,  D.C., launching  a  national  media campaign,  rallying  tens-of-thousands  of  the  nation’s  spiritual  leaders, coordinating  weekly meetings  on  Capitol  Hill  and  in State  Capitols.  Additionally,  the  NHCLC  will  be organizing  a “fly-in”  of  hundreds  of  prominent Hispanic  leaders  from  throughout  North  America  for a  prayer meeting  on  the  evening  of  Oct.  30, followed by  a  series  of  Congressional  visits  on Oct.  31.

Of  President  Donald  J.  Trump’s  decision  to  phaseout  DACA, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez  says  the following:

“I  am  disappointed  that  these  protections  are ending  and  I’ve  expressed  that disappointment to the White House directly.  I  also  understand  why they  chose  this course  of  action.  If  the  fate  of  DACA is  any  indication,  then  it  was  only  a  matter  of  time before  DACA  would  face  a  similar  fate  in  the  court sand,  in  fact,  the  entire  program  could be  ceased immediately  by  a  court  order  rather  than  being phased  out.  Thankfully,  It  is the  job  of  Congress  to make  laws,  and  now  the  President  has provided Congress  a  six month  window  to  legislate  a  more permanent  and  legally  defensible  solution  for DREAMers.  Six  months  is  too  long,  we  will  demand action  from  Congress  within  60 days.  We  do  not intend  on  letting  a  single  member  of  Congress  have a  good  night’s  rest until  they  guarantee  our  young people  can  rest  easy.  We  will  not  be  silent  until every DREAMer  can  dream  again.”

The  National  Hispanic  Christian  Leadership Conference  is  a  non-partisan  organization  that  has long  been  numbered  among  the  nation’s  foremost advocates  for  comprehensive  immigration reform.  It is  the  organization’s  official  position  that  it  is primarily  the  responsibility  of  Congress  to address the  nation’s  longstanding  challenges  with immigration  policy.  In  that  capacity  Rev. Samuel Rodriguez  has  worked  with  Democrat  and Republican  majorities  in  Congress  as  well  as with Presidents  George  W.  Bush,  Barack  Obama  and Donald  J.  Trump  in  advocating  for comprehensive immigration  reform.

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Rev. Samuel  Rodriguez  is  president  of  the  National Hispanic  Christian  Leadership  Conference. He  has been named  by  CNN  and  Fox  News  as  “the  leader  of  the Hispanic  Evangelical  movement”  and  TIME Magazine nominated  him  among  the  100  most  influential  leaders  in America.

The  National  Hispanic  Christian  Leadership  Conference( NHCLC)  is  the  organization  recognized  and identified  by Time  Magazine,  New  York  Times,  The  Wall  Street  Journal, Christianity  Today,  Charisma Magazine,  NBC,  Telemundo, Univision,  Fox  News,  CNN,  and  a  number  of  additional media  outlets, publications,  and  periodicals  as  America’s largest  Hispanic/Latino  Christian  organization  with  40,118 certified  member  churches  in  the  United  States  and  in covenant  relationship  with  ministries  and  churches in  LatinAmerica  and  around  the  world.

 

Website  |  www.nhclc.org Twitter  |  @nhclc

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Latino Evangelicals Urge Trump to Help Immigrant ‘Dreamers’

Latino Evangelicals Urge Trump to Help Immigrant ‘Dreamers’

08-31-2017 by Heather Sells

A court deadline next week is forcing President Trump to make a decision about the fate of young immigrants known as “Dreamers” – and Latino evangelicals say he should move to protect them.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, associate senior pastor at Calvario City Church in Orlando and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, wrote in a recent op-ed: “Now is not the time to turn these children away but rather to remove the fear of deportation and family separation.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, told CBN News he fears the Dreamers will be deported if the president makes the wrong decision.

“Should these children pay for the sins of their parents? It’s anti-American and more importantly, anti-Biblical” he told CBN News.

Approximately 800,000 immigrants receive work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program. It allows them to work or go to school legally. All reside in the country illegally after arriving as children with their parents or older family members.

The president is under pressure from a group of Republican state lawmakers led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. They have threatened to sue if Trump does not terminate the DACA program by Sept. 5th.

The president could order the Department of Homeland Security to halt the new DACA work permits immediately or at a future date and call on Congress to come up with a legislative solution.

He could also continue issuing the permits which would trigger the Republican court challenge and then decide whether or not to defend the program in court.

Rodriguez says the president may be able to work a deal with Congress if it can move forward with border security legislation.

“He’s not going to give 750,000 kids a proverbial break in perpetuity without a legislative piece on this hand. He has to appease his base,” said Rodriguez, noting that the president has promised the building of a wall and other border security measures since his 2016 campaign.

Salguero says if the president ends DACA it will cost Florida $1.5 billion in annual losses to its gross domestic product. That’s because Dreamers pay taxes, pay for their education and contribute to the local and state economy.

The Christian humanitarian group World Relief is urging Congress to protect Dreamers saying, “It would be unjust to punish these individuals for a decision made, in most cases, by their parents.”

A number of Christian colleges and universities joined with other higher education institutions this year to urge the president to support Dreamers. They include: Azusa Pacific University, Bethel University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, John Brown University and Point Loma Nazarene University.

Daniela and Andrea Gonzales are among the Dreamers waiting to see what the president will decide. They arrived in the U.S. with their parents as children and have since gone on to study and work under the DACA program. Without it, their futures remain uncertain at best.

The president appeared to soften his stance on Dreamers this year after harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric during his campaign.

Earlier this year he explained, “It’s a very, very tough subject. We are going to deal with DACA with heart,” he said. But then he added, “I have to deal with a lot of politicians don’t forget.”

 

This Post Originally appeared here: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/august/latino-evangelicals-pressure-president-to-help-immigrant-dreamers

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Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Speaks Out on the Arrest of Immigrant Pastor.

Please click here to sign the Petition to keep Pastor Noe Carias from being deported.

Yesterday, we posted a story about a California pastor named Noe Carias, who was arrested by immigration officials because they said he was “deportable.” Carries has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years, is married to an American citizen and has two young children.

His arrest sparked outrage in the local community. Now, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a pastor and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, is speaking out.

In an interview with The Christian Post, “By all accounts, Pastor Carias is a law-abiding and productive member of his Los Angeles community. Beyond that, he is a model father of two children who are both U.S. citizens and Wednesday will be his 14th wedding anniversary to his wife Victoria.”

He also directly called out President Trump: “Time and again, President Trump has stated his priority would be to deport violent criminals, drug dealers, human traffickers and gang members. Pastor Carias is the very opposite of that description. We should deport pushers, not pastors.”

Rodriguez actually spoke at Trump’s inauguration and has occasionally worked as an informal White House advisor. He told TCP, “We have worked tirelessly with the White House and the Trump administration precisely in order to avoid this kind of result.”

You can read his full statement here.

(This post originally appeared here: https://relevantmagazine.com/slice/rev-samuel-rodriguez-speaks-out-on-the-arrest-of-immigrant-pastor/ )

 

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Major Christian groups praise Trump’s decision to maintain Obama-era DACA program

The Christian humanitarian organization World Relief as well as the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference have praised President Donald Trump for maintaining an Obama-era policy that protects young, illegal immigrants.

On Thursday, Trump officially rescinded the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which was passed in 2014, but never went into effect, while he kept intact DAPA’s sister program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

To date, the DACA program has allowed some 800,000 young immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. as minors to remain in the country, protecting them from the threat of deportation and enabling them to obtain employment authorization.

“We’re very grateful that President Trump and his administration have made this decision,” Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, said in a statement obtained by TheBlaze. “It’s a huge relief for many young people whom we serve. It was a wise and compassionate decision, consistent with the biblical values that compel us to pursue just and compassionate treatment for immigrants and to have a particular concern for children.”

World Relief, which criticized Trump in January for seeking to implement a travel ban that has since been blocked from implementation, provides legal services to several illegal immigrants who apply for so-called “Dreamer” status.

“As we interact with DACA applicants on a day-to-day basis, we hear the individual stories of lives transformed by this program,” Courtney Tudi, director of immigrant legal services for World Relief, said.

And the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference offered similar acclaim for the White House’s decision.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC, commended Trump “in the highest possible terms” for maintaining his predecessor’s policy regarding those brought to the U.S. as children.

“These young men and women were brought to this country not by their own choice,” he said, “but they grew up in this country and have become as American as any other American.”

He went on to describe the president’s decision to maintain DACA as “exhibit A of the administration listening to and cooperating with the Hispanic community, and we commend him for it.”

In late January, NHCLC Vice President Tony Suarez told TheBlaze that the White House arranged a phone call with Hispanic leaders of several different Christian denominations to discuss how the Trump administration would address “Dreamers.”

And in a phone interview Friday afternoon, Suarez, who said he was “very encouraged” by this week’s decision, highlighted the importance of keeping families together, urging Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to come together to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“[Maintaining DACA] places the priority on families,” he told TheBlaze. “That we cannont separate families. … We have to remember that these ‘Dreamers’ are not here because of any fault of their own. They didn’t choose to cross the border, they didn’t choose to come without a passport or without proper documentation.”

He said the Obama-era policy “protects” children and families from being torn apart. Ultimately, though, he said keeping DACA isn’t enough — the White House needs to implement a policy, not unlike DAPA, to protect parents.

“This is the beginning of several steps that need to take place for a true immigration reform to fully be executed,” Suarez noted.

Moving forward, the NHCLC leader said it is up to Congress to take action, to pass a bipartisan, sweeping immigration reform.

“In the same manner that an executive action by President [Barack] Obama could not dictate immigration policy — we’re still left waiting for Congress to act [under Trump],” Suarez said. “And they have promised for — at this point — decades to act. For the last 30 years.”

“It’s time,” he added. “[T]hey need to get this done.”

Trump’s decision to maintain the DACA program marks a shift from his campaign promise to “immediately terminate” the policy, which — at the time — he described as an “illegal executive amnesty.”

Since taking office, though, the president had been softening his perspective on the issue. During a February press conference from the White House, Trump vowed to treat DACA immigrants “with heart.” He said dealing with DACA is “a very, very difficult subject for me.”

“To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids — in many cases, not in all cases,” Trump said. “In some of the cases, they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug members, too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids — I would say mostly — they were brought in here in such a way. It’s a very, very tough subject.”

Original post can be read here: http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/06/16/major-christian-groups-praise-trumps-decision-to-maintain-obama-era-daca-program/

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Samuel Rodriguez Urges People to Look at Facts Behind 23-Y-O Dreamer’s Deportation to Mexico

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, one of six faith leaders who spoke at President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony and the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has issued a statement regarding the widely reported deportation of a 23-year-old Mexican dreamer.

(Photo: Reuters/Mark Makela)A sign is displayed in support of Angela Navarro, an undocumented Honduran-born immigrant with a deportation order, who moved into West Kensington Ministry Church with her family – her husband and two U.S. born children, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 18, 2014. Navarro, who has “always lived in fear” of deportation said on Tuesday she moved into a Philadelphia church as part of a national civil disobedience action aimed at pressing President Obama on immigration reform. Navarro is the ninth undocumented immigrant who has taken refuge in a church recently as part of what activists are calling the New Sanctuary Movement. Organizers offer sanctuary in churches because federal guidelines prohibit arrests in sensitive areas unless there is a threat to public safety or national security.

Last week, it was reported that federal immigration agents may have “ignored” President Donald Trump’s pledge to protect undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children from deportation and deported a man named Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez, who had lived in the U.S. since he was 9 and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status under the Obama administration.

According to USA Today, Montes-Bojorquez’s deportation was the first documented case of a dreamer being deported under the Trump administration.

Rodriguez, the lead pastor at New Season Church in California, issued a statement following the report that said he is “hugely alarmed” by the reports of Montes-Bojorquez’s deportation and separation from his family. Montes-Bojorquez is now believed to be staying with his aunt and uncle in Western Mexico.

“As the investigation on this incident remains unresolved, we must wait until we have the facts and not jump to conclusions,” Rodriguez said.

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)Rev. Samuel Rodriguez on the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission panel on “Hobby Lobby and the Future of Religious Liberty,” at the Southern Baptist Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, June 9, 2014.

“I will reiterate my position that the Trump administration has promised to not touch our Dreamers’ or separate good families,” Rodriguez added. “As such, I ask our leaders to get to the bottom of this issue to determine whether the deportation of Mr. Montes-Bojorquez violated this promise, and, if his deportation was indeed unwarranted, to immediately reunite him with his family.”

According to the San Diego Tribune, Montes-Bojorquez filed a federal lawsuit last week that claimed he was deported twice in February.

The lawsuit claims that the first deportation was when he was approached by a border officer in Calexico and the second came when he tried to re-enter the U.S. a day later.

The lawsuit also claims that Montes-Borjorquez was first apprehended in Calexico when he was leaving a friend’s house and approached by an officer on his way to a taxi stand. The lawsuit claims that he had forgotten his wallet with his authorization card in his friend’s car and was prevented from going to get it and was later deported.

A statement released by the Department of Homeland Security last week states that there are no records to verify Montes-Borjorquez’s claim that he was first apprehended on Feb. 18 and deported through the port of entry in Calexico. Records only verify that Montes-Bojorquez was apprehended as he climbed the border fence in downtown Calexico on Feb. 19. DHS said that “he admitted to agents that he had illegally entered the United States and was arrested.”

“There are no records or evidence to support Montes-Bojorquez’s claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on Feb. 18,” the statement reads.

Montes-Bojorquez was approved for DACA in 2014, with an expiration date of Jan. 25, 2018, the DHS statement acknowledged. However, the statement claims that Montes-Bojorquez “lost his DACA status when he left the United States without advance parole on an unknown date prior to his arrest by the U.S. Border Patrol on Feb. 19.”

“According to his interview with the Border Patrol, conducted in Spanish, he entered the United States on Feb. 19 and he acknowledged that he understood the questions that he was being asked,” the statement reads. “Departing the country without advance parole terminates the protections Montes-Bojorquez was granted under DACA.”

Additionally, DHS claims that Montes-Bojorquez never informed border agents of his DACA status during his interviews and was repatriated to Mexico on Feb. 20.

The Daily Caller reports that Montes-Bojorquez was convicted of shoplifting last July and sentenced to probation. Additionally, he has also received three convictions for driving without a license.

Although Rodriguez is in favor of stopping illegal immigration and opposes offering amnesty to illegal immigrants, he has criticized the Trump administration earlier this year after reports indicated that a large percentage of undocumented immigrants targeted in ICE raids earlier this year hadn’t committed any serious crimes.

He told The Christian Post in March that conversations he had with the Trump transition team led him to believe that God-fearing and law-abiding undocumented immigrant families would not be affected by the deportation policies.

“[T]here was a percentage, a number of great God-fearing, hard-working people who were not criminals who don’t even have a traffic violation that were deported,” Rodriguez said. “These are egregious stories.”

“We are looking at, for example, a mom whose kids were born here and whose kids don’t even speak Spanish. The mom who came here legally with a visa and the visa expired and she never got a deportation order was deported,” he continued. “These kind of egregious stories are the stories taking place. That is why I oppose it. I really want our president to fulfill his entire promise.”

Rodriguez’s church in Sacramento implemented a “safe haven” program this year that offers anyone in the community, including illegal immigrants, who feel like they are in need of safe haven a place to take shelter.

“The safe haven is for everyone in the community — those who are victims of domestic violence, those that are fleeing gang activities, any family that believes their family is threatened. It could be internally or externally,” he told CP. “I want to distinguish that from sanctuary churches that are explicitly committed to opening up their doors to people that are undocumented. We are not going to ask you if you are documented or undocumented. If you are coming to our church and say, ‘I need safe haven,’ without asking you any questions, we are going to provide safe haven.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/samuel-rodriguez-23-year-old-dreamers-deportation-mexico-181800/

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What does comprehensive immigration reform mean in Trump’s America?

Do we enforce the letter of the law regarding people who have entered our country illegally, or do we compassionately assimilate undocumented peoples seeking a better life despite the laws they broke getting here in the first place?

Since the Gang of Eight bill was first passed in the Senate in 2013 – and later stalled in the House of Representatives – it’s safe to say that much has transpired both socially and politically.

Like any expression that is often used but seldom defined, what politicians and immigration advocates actually mean by Comprehensive Immigration Reform is up for interpretation, and is usually more rooted in political party and ideology rather than any agreed upon baseline policy measures.

Politically speaking, comprehensive immigration reform is perhaps the ultimate Catch 22. Do we enforce the letter of the law regarding people who have entered our country illegally, or do we compassionately assimilate undocumented peoples seeking a better life despite the laws they broke getting here in the first place? In America, the answer must be yes and yes.

President Trump has indicated that now is the time to once again pursue immigration reform and it’s critically important that the Hispanic Community assume a leading voice in the debate. In fact, I believe there are 5 essential policy points that must be included in any serious, comprehensive immigration reform bill that seeks to bridge the two sides’ seemingly incompatible goals.

1. Secure Border:
As a sovereign nation, the U.S. must reserve the right to determine who crosses our borders and who is allowed to stay. We must establish a clearly defined certification process that once satisfied, would enable those that are here in an undocumented capacity to have the opportunity to get permanently right with the law. In the meantime, improved border security and enforcement will help to disincentivize future migration surges as well as slow human and narcotics trafficking.

2. No Amnesty:
We should not simply allow the undocumented population to have a free pass, or amnesty, which would enable them to stay here in America ahead of people that are lawfully in line to immigrate to the United States. However, we understand that this large population will neither be deported, nor will most self-deport.

Therefore, we must legislate a process by which these people can admit to their wrongdoing, submit to and pass rigorous state and federal background checks, pay a fine to get right with the law, and prove their financial viability.

If they meet all these criteria, they would be able to stay legally as Guest Workers, but they will not be able to adjust their status to permanent resident or citizen unless and until all of the legal immigrant applications already in process have been adjudicated, (they would go to the end of the line for immigration purposes).

3. Guest Worker Visas:
Currently undocumented individuals should initially be able to adjust their status to that of a Guest Worker. They could choose to remain in the United States as Guest Workers indefinitely, so long as they passed the requirements as listed above, and remain current on their tax liabilities.

However, should they choose some day to pursue permanent residency or citizenship, they must pay additional fees, and would not be able to adjust their status unless and until all legal applications previously filed by aspiring immigrants are adjudicated.

4. Deport Serious Criminals
Any and all undocumented individuals engaged in nefarious activities such as murder, rape, assault, drug trafficking, and gang related activities should and must deported as expeditiously as possible.

However, a clear distinction must be made between these individuals and others who illegally obtained driver’s licenses, social security cards and other documents necessary for employment and basic survival.

The latter, with families raised in America and currently employed, should be protected from deportation as promised by President Trump in interviews with both 60 Minutes and TIME Magazine in addition to phone conferences we at the NHCLC have had with the transition team.

5. Integration process:
Newly legalized undocumented individuals must be encouraged to assimilate into the mainstream of American society. They must learn English, as well as American Civics.

As a nation of immigrants, we know that immigrants arrive in our country seeking opportunity and liberty. As long as these people obey the laws going forward, they must be treated fairly, and with the dignity that God has bestowed upon all people equally.

There will be some on both sides of this contentious debate that will disagree with me because I’ve either gone too far or not far enough.

As a leader in the Hispanic Community who is personally and professionally tied to this incredibly emotional issue, I have had to confront the simple truth that there are no easy answers – at least none that have a real chance of being passed into law. But if we honor the rule of law as well as the sanctity of all life, we can find a way forward together.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He has been named by CNN and Fox News as “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement.”

Faith and Education Coalition is an initiative of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference (NHCLC) and advocates for high-quality education options for all of America’s children.

Original post can be read here: http://www.univision.com/univision-news/opinion/what-does-comprehensive-immigration-reform-mean-in-trumps-america

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Pro-Life, Pro-Immigrant

It has been a discouraging week for evangelical Christians and others who are steadfastly devoted to protecting unborn life.

Last Thursday, as I joined with approximately 100,000 others at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., the ostensibly pro-life Republican leadership of the House of Representatives called off a scheduled vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act. This legislation, which would prohibit abortions of unborn children past 20 weeks in their gestation in most cases, is a matter of conscience. Scientists believe that unborn children at 20 weeks are sufficiently developed so as to feel pain while abortion terminates their life. That’s why most Americans, both women and men—including many who support the right to choose an abortion earlier in a pregnancy—support this bill. But in an apparent betrayal of the many pro-life evangelical and Catholic voters who just helped their party to gain control of both chambers of Congress, Republican leaders in the House decided against even offering a vote on the legislation.

Christian engagement in public policy is driven by the fundamental biblical conviction that all human life is made in the image of God and is thus to be cherished. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, legal status, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, disability, or any other qualifier, human life is sacred, and our faith requires us to advocate in particular for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Children still within their mothers’ wombs certainly meet that definition.

That’s why Christians—including the vast majority of Latino evangelicals represented by the tens of thousands of local churches within our nation who form the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference—are so adamantly pro-life. In fact, a recent poll finds that Hispanic immigrant evangelicals are among the most pro-life constituency in the nation: fully 73% oppose abortion in all or most cases, compared to 43% of the general population and 65% of our white evangelical brethren.

Latino evangelicals feel betrayed by the House Republicans’ failure to vote on this basic legislation. Unfortunately, such betrayal seems to be becoming a trend.

Just two weeks ago, after assuring evangelical leaders both privately and publicly for more than a year that they were committed to finally reforming our antiquated immigration laws as we have urged them to do, House Republicans leadership pushed forward a bill to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which since 2012 has allowed certain individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children, not of their own volition, to be granted temporary work authorization and be relieved of the fear of deportation. That administrative policy has meant hope for tens of thousands of ambitious young people within Hispanic evangelical churches. The House’s effort to remove these young people’s work authorization and put them at risk of deportation is an offense to most Latino evangelicals (and to many other evangelical Christians as well).

It also should be deeply troublesome to all who support the pro-life cause, because the vote to end DACA—and the failure to advance the commons sense immigration reforms that are popular with most Americans as well as most evangelical Christians—is political suicide, setting up a scenario where it becomes nearly impossible for a pro-life president to be elected in 2016.

That’s because it is nearly impossible for a pro-life Republican presidential candidate to win the Electoral College without improving their standing among Latino voters from the paltry 27% that Governor Romney received in 2012, after vowing to dismantle the DACA program if elected and endorsing an immigration policy of “self-deportation.” Latinos—and particularly Latino evangelicals—are eager to vote for a pro-life, pro-immigrant candidate in 2016, but the GOP’s recent actions in the House of Representatives convey to Latino voters that it is uninterested in either label.

It’s not too late though. Congressional Republicans should quickly take up both the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act and a series of immigration bills that would secure our borders, reform our dysfunctional visa system, and establish a process by which immigrants present unlawfully could earn permanent legal status and eventual citizenship if they’re willing to pay a fine, pass a criminal background check, and work over the course of several years for those privileges.

If they fail to do so, Latino evangelicals, for whom the pro-life cause and immigration reform are two key policy concerns, will take note. As was the case in 2012, when a majority supported President Obama’s re-election, most will likely vote for Democratic candidates whom they trust will act on at least one of their key priorities.

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Hispanic Evangelicals could determine GOP nominee

Based on the performance on display in Iowa last weekend by several of the Republican presidential hopefuls, none of them seem to be paying attention to what could deliver the keys to the front door of the White House: Latino voters. Hispanic populations have grown by an average of 77 percent in nine presidential battleground states since 2000.

Both Republicans and Democrats would be wise to pay very close attention to how they navigate two issues in particular: immigration and education. While Hispanic evangelicals traditionally support social conservatives, polling indicates they are willing to depart from party orthodoxy to support candidates who share their beliefs on these two issues. Nearly nine in 10 Hispanic voters supported President Barack Obama’s use of executive action late last year to protect undocumented workers from deportation. Fifty-seven percent of registered Hispanic voters call education an “extremely important” issue, putting it ahead of the economy and healthcare.

As a pastor, I’ve witnessed the suffering of those living in the shadows of our immigration system. I’ve counseled families torn apart by the legal status of a loved one. Our system begets broken families, poverty and a dependence on government that often gets passed from one generation to the next. We can and must do a better job of putting an end to the cycle by establishing a path for undocumented immigrants to earn U.S. citizenship without amnesty, which would require paying back taxes, passing background checks and demonstrating a comprehensive knowledge of U.S. civics.

Likewise, leaders must continue to champion high education standards, greater academic accountability and school choice. Over the past year, efforts to implement high, comparable academic standards have drawn a great deal of scrutiny. I’m often baffled by criticisms that focus largely on political dogma and little on the value of setting rigorous expectations for our children.

As Christians we are called to confront America’s education crisis with both conviction and compassion. Young people with a fundamental understanding of core knowledge are more likely to hold good jobs, invest back in their community, and stay out of trouble with the law. Sadly, for too long we have let the bar gradually slip, especially for low-income and minority students.

Non-federal, comparable standards ensure at each grade level children will develop the skills and knowledge to graduate from high school prepared for college-level work or a competitive job. That’s important for Hispanic students, only about half of whom complete high school on time, if at all. More than 58 percent of Latinos entering a two-year college require remediation, and just one in 10 college students in remediation will graduate. For most, the result is debt with little to show for it.

We have a responsibility to hold all young people to rigorous academic expectations, regardless of race or where they grow up. Failing to do so ignores the worth of every child and effectively systematizes the notion some students just aren’t “smart enough,” reinforcing cycles of poverty and inequality. Similarly, young people who are gifted should be liberated to learn at their own pace and reach for the stars. We can have a system that respects the needs of every child and their unique talents.

Fortunately, a few likely presidential candidates have shown the courage not to back away from their support for high standards. Govs. Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Chris Christie are among those who have stood by their call for rigorous classroom expectations. Polling finds more than two-thirds of voters favor high education standards. Among minority families, support is even stronger.

As the representative of 40,000 churches across the country, I encourage the presidential candidates to make clear their positions on high education standards and fair immigration policy. The Hispanic faith community will be listening closely to where candidates stand on reforms that align with the word of God and respect the dignity of all his people.

 

REV. SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals. This was distributed by InsideSources.com

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‘McFarland USA’ Is the Prophetic Voice the Immigration Reform Debate Needs

Seated behind an elderly Mexican American couple, my wife and I stood moved and motivated as we watched Kevin Costner’s latest movie, “McFarland U.S.A.” The story of immigrant young men, who worked in the fields picking fruits and vegetables in addition to attending High School and running in cross country competitions, re-ignited our commitment to immigration reform.

With discretion so as to not reveal the ending of this true story, the film confirmed for me a simple truth: that in spite of recent actions and inaction by our elected officials, the issues surrounding our nation’s immigration policies will not go away. Immigration reform is, at the risk of sounding overly optimistic, inevitable. A powerful and transformative assurance of this inevitability exists, what I call the “prophetic imperative.”

This biblically based impetus has solidified in the hearts of the emerging Christ-following generation as the following truths: that silence is not an option, truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity.

In other words, how can we be so certain that immigration reform will take place? Simply stated, as long as God’s word lives, Matthew 25 stands preached, and God’s Spirit moves convicting us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before him. Immigration reform will take place because the Bible-believing evangelical community understands that the future of American Christianity lies in how to serve the fastest growing segment of our churches: the immigrant community.

How can I come to such conclusions on the heels of an attempt by Congress to defund the President’s executive action expanding deferment to approximately 5 million additional undocumented, hard working individuals created in God’s image? Simply stated, from a practical standpoint, immigration reform will inevitably take place because — by all accounts, including acquiescence by the most animated opponents of reform — mass deportation will not and can never happen.

Furthermore, America’s political landscape assures us that immigration reform will take place because without it, Republicans will never acquire the necessary 32 to 35 percent of the Latino vote necessary to retake Pennsylvania Avenue. In essence, the party of Lincoln and Reagan must cross the Jordan of immigration reform in order to enter the promise land of America’s Hispanic American electorate.

At the end of the day the immigrant community, so beautifully depicted in “McFarland U.S.A.,” reveal to us all the certainty that these hard-working, God loving, family-embracing individuals stand poised to enrich the collective American experience.

As the film came to an end, my wife nudged me and pointed to an elderly Mexican American man in front of us who was quietly weeping while on the screen the immigrant teens sang the national anthem. For his sake, and for Americans, I still believe that one day the challenges our current immigration policies pose will be reformed, and the following biblical truth will be affirmed: what we sow in tears we will reap with joy.

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