“Every single person is created in the image of God. Without exception.”
—Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, issues the following statement:
“Every single person is created in the image of God. Without exception. Therefore, as it pertains to immigration, we must provide a legal avenue, with rigorous vetting, that enables individuals from both Norway and Nigeria, from Holland and Haiti, to come to our nation if they embrace our values, commit to self-reliance and to enriching our collective American experience.
“In addition, and with great due deference, I believe that the comments attributed to our president can best be described as wrong, inappropriate, and hurtful. Why? Because when God looks at these nations, He sees His children.”
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Issues Statement Reacting to Leaked Comments from Closed-Door Immigration Meeting
President Donald Trump met Tuesday with Democratic and Republican members of Congress to discuss immigration. The various factions committed to new legislation in the coming days.
“It should be a bill of love,” said President Trump. He sat between two Democratic leaders. “But it also has to be a bill where we’re able to secure our border.”
The bipartisan meeting was opened to the media. CNN called it “extraordinary” as lawmakers of both parties openly discussed their differences.
“I do have people that are … very far right and very far left,” observed President Trump. “They’re very unhappy about what we’re doing. But I really don’t believe they have to be, because I think this sells itself.”
Reverend Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference praised how President Trump personalized the issue.
“The president had the inclination to say, I am a grandfather and a father. We are not going to harm these young men and women who came here by no will of their own. That speaks volumes to so many people,” he said.
Deadlines Link Two Issues Together
The meeting came as two deadlines fast approach on Capitol Hill. A short-term spending bill passed in December set January 19 as its end date. It requires House and Senate leaders to agree to spending levels. If they don’t, the government will shutdown. This would affect even some veterans’ services.
Another deadline concerns the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era policy was established in 2012. It allowed for nearly 800,000 young immigrants to remain in the U.S.
After ten states brought legal challenges against DACA, the White House announced a decision last September. President Trump stated DACA would be phased out by March 5. He also urged Congress to unite to “solve the DACA issue with heart and compassion.”
Leaders in both parties decided to act on the two issues concurrently. Among 23 members of Congress who attended the White House event were several high-ranking leaders. They included Senate whips John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). House leaders Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also attended.
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“I believe that DACA recipients should have great confidence,” Rodriguez told The Stream after the meeting. “There is a commitment on behalf of the government to make sure these individuals will enrich the collective American narrative.”
Rodriguez serves as a member of the Faith Leaders Initiative, the group of evangelical leaders who advise the White House when asked. He also pastors New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California and serves on an advisory board for The Stream.
Since last fall, his group has advocated for lawmakers to find a solution to the DACA issue.
Answering Conservative Criticisms
Some on the right question the drive to secure the status of DACA recipients. Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation criticized proposals to salvage DACA.
The policy allows certain immigrants to cut in front others in the legal process, he claimed. “Provid[ing] amnesty to so-called Dreamers … would be unfair to legal immigrants who obeyed the law to come here,” the policy analyst stated.
“I think that criticism is far-fetched,” responded Rodriguez. “These are not individuals who came here crossing the Rio Grande at the age of 35. They were children when they were brought here. They are hard-working people. Many of them have served in the military. So it’s not about cutting anything. This is the right thing to do.”
Von Spakovsky also suggested some young immigrants present a security risk. “The Obama administration used a ‘lean and light’ system of background checks in which only a few, randomly selected DACA applicants were ever actually vetted,” he wrote.
“These kids should not pay for the sins of their parents.”
“I was in Nevada with President Obama when he initiated this DACA program,” Rodriguez said in response. “There was a thorough commitment to vetting. He spoke of it often. We need to make sure these men and women are not involved in nefarious activities, gangs or criminal enterprise.”
He noted that President Trump is responsible for stopping more potential immigrants at the border than other presidents.
“But many don’t know that deportations overall were higher under President Obama,” he said. “It shows a commitment on behalf of that administration to engage in thorough vetting.” Official sources confirm an overall decline in deportations under President Trump.
Debate Over DACA and Dollars
According to press statements since the meeting, the leaders reached agreement on four items. These include resolving the DACA phase out, improving border security, limiting “chain migration” and ending the visa lottery system.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) noted his House bill will address these four categories. But Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) of the House Freedom Caucus expressed concerns. “Generally, I’m opposed to a two-step process because history would indicate the second step never happens,” he said.
Others caution that the spending bill details not get lost in the fervor over immigration fixes. “Federal spending is on an unsustainable upward trajectory,” said Heritage budget expert Romina Boccia. “It is driving national debt to economically harmful levels.”
For his part, Rodriguez sees solutions within reach on an issue that has concerned hundreds of thousands of families in America. “These kids should not pay for the sins of their parents,” he said.
“You could have the most ultra-conservative rhetoric on immigration. But, as it pertains to children, the vast majority of Americans agree on this.”
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.
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
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.
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.
Samuel Rodriguez slams critics of Trump’s evangelical advisers
by Jardine Malado September 1, 2017
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez has denounced critics who are calling on him and other Christian leaders to resign from President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board.
Following the Aug. 12 protest in Charlottesville, critics have called on members of the evangelical advisory board to abandon the president because of his response to the violent incident that occurred during the rally.
Critics were particularly angered over Trump’s failure to quickly denounce white supremacists as well as his remarks claiming there were “very fine people” on both sides, and that both sides were to blame for the violence.
Rodriguez, who was one of six Christian leaders who spoke at Trump’s inauguration, acknowledged that the president was wrong not to immediately call out the white supremacists, but he maintained that his involvement on the advisory board was his “God-given assignment.”
The Hispanic evangelical leader argued that those calling for his resignation from the board are largely inconsistent.
“Where was that argument ‘why don’t you abandon,’ why don’t evangelical advisors abandon Obama when he affirmed and celebrated and advanced the cause of same-sex marriage? Where was the uproar when Obama expanded/funded Planned Parenthood, funded international abortions?” he said.
Rodriguez, who serves as the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, had also served as an advisor in various capacities to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He contended that the board gives “very straight talk” to the president and that it is “committed to the centrality of Jesus and biblical truth.”
Compared to the advisory board during the previous administrations, the current board is informal with no recognized leader or structure. The boards from the past two administrations had more formal structures which included leaders from a variety of faiths, whereas the current board is thoroughly evangelical and largely conservative, according to CBN News.
Rodriguez raised the question whether critics have thought of the consequences if members of the evangelical advisory board were to abandon Trump.
“What if President Trump would not have a faith advisory board and no one speaking truth and love and mercy and grace and reconciliation to him?” he asked. “My point is, people should be thanking God every single day for the faith advisory board,” he added.
Despite being a member of the advisory board, Rodriguez has not been afraid of speaking out against the Trump administration’s actions when it comes to deporting and detaining immigrants.
Last month, Rodriguez condemned the arrest of a Guatemalan-born Assemblies of God pastor in California and criticized the administration’s decision to rescind a policy protecting undocumented parents of natural-born American citizens or legal permanent residents from deportation.
This post originally appeared here: http://www.christiantimes.com/article/samuel-rodriguez-slams-critics-of-trumps-evangelical-advisers/72772.htm
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
On Thursday, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly issued a memorandum that effectively rescinded a November 2014 Obama-era memoranda that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.
The program was designed to offer deferred action status to parents of citizens or permanent residents who have lived in the United States since 2010. However, the program was blocked by federal courts and lower court rulings were affirmed by an equally divided eight-justice Supreme Court last June.
In a press release, the Department of Homeland Security explained that the DAPA memoranda was rescinded “because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.”
Rodriguez, who is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and senior pastor at New Season Church in Sacramento, California, noted his concerns with Thursday’s memo in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Friday.
“Today, we received the unfortunate news that DHS Secretary John Kelly, after consulting Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has rescinded the Obama-era memoranda known as DAPA, which provided protection from deportation for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents,” Rodriguez explained. “While DREAMers remain protected under DACA, it is of little comfort to children whose parents are now at risk of being deported from this country.”
Rodriguez also explained that he and others at the NHCLC are reaching out to DHS to express their concern and “offer to help the administration find an alternative solution” that provides “Dreamers and their parents with the security promised to them by then President-elect Donald Trump in December of 2016.”
“At that time, we were heartened to hear his promise ‘to work something out for Dreamers,’ and we are hopeful that sentiment persists,” Rodriguez concluded.
Although the Trump administration will keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Kelly’s memoranda also cancelled an expanded version of DACA that gave three-year work authorization status to immigrants who arrived in the country as children, as opposed to a two-year DACA work authorization.
“I want to — in the highest possible terms — commend President Trump for fulfilling a promise he made directly to the NHCLC by continuing the DACA program and allowing DREAMers to stay in the United States,” Rodriguez said in a separate statement shared with CP. “These young men and women were brought to this country not by their own choice, but they grew up in this country and have become as American as any other American. President Trump’s decision to keep DACA is exhibit A of the administration listening to and cooperating with the Hispanic community, and we commend him for it.”
However, Rodriguez stressed that DHS should not be looking to “separate families.”
“We must remember the real solution to all of these issues in the United States of America is the responsibility of Congress, not the president,” he added. “[A]nd we — once again — appeal to Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It’s more important now than ever before, and it is their responsibility to address this long standing issue. It is their responsibility to take up and prioritize this issue and to, once and for all, solve a problem they have exacerbated by their inaction.”
This is not the first time that Rodriguez has voiced concern with the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies.
Earlier this year, Rodriguez spoke out after reports indicated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was deporting law-abiding undocumented immigrants with families that rely on them even though Trump vowed that only immigrants who with criminal records would be targeted for deportation.
“[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 told CP in April. “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 is not the only evangelical leader who spoke at Trump’s inauguration who has voiced concern with the Trump administration’s deportation policies.
As a media firestorm has ensued as reports indicate that the administration is preparing to deport as many as 199 Iraqis, most of whom are Christian, back to Iraq, where they could face persecution, leading evangelist Franklin Graham to issue his concerns on the matter on his Facebook page on Friday.
“I find it very disturbing what I have read about Chaldean Christians being rounded up by U.S. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for possible deportation,” Graham, the president of the evangelical humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse and the son of Billy Graham, wrote. “I would encourage the president to have someone investigate these cases thoroughly. I understand a policy of deporting people who are here illegally and have broken the law. I don’t know all of the details, but I would encourage our president to give great consideration to the threat to lives of Christians in countries like Iraq.”
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/
What do the Archbishop of New York, a group of Nashville singer/songwriters, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and this ordinary pastor here in Memphis all share in common? We, along with about 100 others, are using our voices to call on our congressional representatives to reject recent proposals put forward by President Trump in his budget blueprint. In particular, we are calling on Congress to protect the International Affairs budget.
Many might wonder why this matters. The rhetoric of “America First” has certainly been a hot topic in our national discourse over the past year.
The president’s proposed cuts to the International Affairs budget loses sight of the fact that foreign assistance, saves innocent lives, makes us safer, helps to create jobs here in America, and, most importantly, is fundamentally the right thing to do for the strongest, most successful country on earth.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and meet with some of the members of our Tennessee congressional delegation. I went because my Christian faith compels me to speak up for the people of our planet who are not as lucky as we are to live here. I have a moral obligation to speak up for the poor, hungry, vulnerable, and displaced men, women, and children of our world who are supported through the International Affairs budget.
This piece of our government’s monetary pie accounts for less than 1 percent our overall spending. To cut that slice smaller, particularly when it deals with programs that help alleviate the suffering of millions, is a step in the wrong direction.
In recent years we have seen the number of people on our planet living in extreme poverty cut in half. The International Affairs portion of the federal budget helps make this happen. Additionally, it provides vital resources to help stop the spread of diseases like HIV and AIDS as well as Ebola. There are real consequences that come from drastic reductions in funding for this kind of work. Human rights are undermined. Religious freedom is threatened.
As a nation, does that make us look better or worse in the eyes of the world? More importantly, how does that make us look in the eyes of our Creator?
Our nation’s budget reflects our nation’s character. The food we share with the hungry, the medicine we offer to those who are sick, and the hand we extend to the ones trying to climb out of poverty: these are all expressions of our character and values.
As a pastor in our community committed to promoting the common good, I hope we will call on our congressional leaders to do what is right for our nation, our international neighbors, and our souls. There isn’t a faith tradition practiced here that says anything other than to speak up for the poor, the stranger, and the dignity of every human being.
Join me in asking our elected leaders to do what is right. Revise the budget blueprint the president has proposed. Protect the International Affairs budget. Speak up for the most vulnerable people on the planet. In doing this we have the opportunity to reflect our highest values as citizens of a nation that is truly great.
Dr. Stephen Cook is the Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis.
Original post can be read here: http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/opinion/2017/04/19/protecting-foreign-aid-shows-our-nations-greatness/100618328/
More than 100 Christian leaders, including 2017 inauguration speakers Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, are calling on Congress not to support cuts in President Trump’s budget to America’s foreign assistance programs that they argue make up less than 1 percent of the federal budget.
“It is our moral responsibility to urge you to support and protect the international affairs budget,” the faith leaders wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders. “… We cannot turn our backs on those in desperate need.”
Trump’s budget calls for cutting the budgets at the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development by 28 percent, down from 37 percent from a draft version of the budget the Trump administration released last month.
The budget proposal is only a blueprint with no enforcement mechanism. But it still amounts to a first shot in Trump’s battle with Congress over spending priorities.
The Christian leaders signing the letter to House and Senate leaders represent the Catholic and evangelical communities, including priests, pastors, heads of faith organizations, recording artists and authors. Dolan, a Catholic cardinal and archbishop of New York, opened Trump’s inauguration with a prayer. Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, read from the Sermon on the Mount at the inauguration.
With the budget process moving to Capitol Hill, the leaders stressed that the United States must remain that “shining city on a hill” that “brings hope to poor, hungry, [and] vulnerable.”
“America is blessed with fertile land, abundant natural resources, a strong economy and faithful citizens who value religious freedom,” they wrote. “But beyond our borders, many countries experience unparalleled suffering and loss of life due to extreme poverty, disease, natural disasters and conflict.”
The leaders pointed to the 65 million people who have been displaced worldwide, the most since World War II, in addition to the 795 million people in poverty across the globe who “go to bed hungry every night.”
The group sent the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Others who signed the letter include: Leith Anderson, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rich Stearns, president of World Vision USA; Bishop Gregory Mansour, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services; Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, a prominent Christian singer/songwriter team; Dr. George O. Wood, the general superintendent of Assemblies of God; Dr. Ronnie Floyd, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity.
Original post can be read here: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/christian-leaders-ask-congress-to-reject-trumps-foreign-aid-cuts/article/2617557