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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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Samuel Rodriguez Slams Critics of Trump’s Evangelical Advisers

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

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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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Samuel Rodriguez Speaks Out Against Trump Admin. Rescinding DAPA Protections

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.”

(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.

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.”

Read original post at http://www.christianpost.com/news/samuel-rodriguez-speaks-out-against-trump-rescinding-dapa-protections-188226/#rlAfK1tzD0yCMHvy.99

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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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Protecting foreign aid shows our nation’s greatness

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/

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Christian leaders ask Congress to reject Trump’s foreign aid cuts

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

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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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Florida Pastor Begins Never Trump, Never Hillary Campaign

Urges Hispanics to Not Vote for Flawed Candidates

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Believing both the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates hold beliefs and policy positions that are at odds with Evangelical Hispanics, Florida pastor Eddie Rodriguez has begun a campaign to urge like-minded Hispanic voters to not pander to either side. Instead he is challenging fellow Latinos to stick by their core beliefs, even if it means not supporting either candidate for President in 2016, unless they demonstrate significant changes in their representations or rhetoric.

“With more Hispanics self-identifying as Evangelical, Latinos are becoming an important voting block; we need to show the candidates and the parties that our vote is not a given, but rather must be earned,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, founder of A Place Called Hope Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a board member of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference(NHCLC), the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization representing 40,000 churches in America and another 500,000 worldwide. He previously served as the superintendent of the Florida Multicultural District of the Assemblies of God, and also founded Love Tabernacle In West Palm Beach and a church in Asuncion, Paraguay.

In urging his fellow Latinos to abstain from supporting either 2016 presidential candidate, Rodriguez stresses the main points in which Hispanic Evangelical’s differ from them. In addition to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s lack of a social or financial plan for the country, Rodriguez noted that his rhetoric shows a lack of compassion for the disenfranchised, including immigrants, Muslims and other minority groups. Another important concern for Rodriguez is a heart issue, as he believes it is disconcerting for Trump to say that he has never nor will ever apologize to anyone, not even God.

On the other side, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s position on abortion is a hindrance Rodriguez believes keeps Hispanic Evangelicals from offering her their support. He also cautioned that conservative values would be threatened by her administration’s appointment of liberal judges that will do violence to the Constitution and a biblical worldview.

“Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have substantively articulated the road to legitimacy for millions of illegals with American-born children who live productive lives, which is a huge human issue in our reality,” Rodriguez said.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez (no relation), NHCLC president, emphasized that Pastor Eddie Rodriguez reflects the angst of the Hispanic Evangelical community, and his challenge demonstrates that many Latino voters remain undecided, reflecting an opportunity for both candidates to address matters of importance and concern to the Hispanic community.

“The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference represents people and groups with a wide variety of viewpoints,” said Samuel Rodriguez. “We are a big tent that allows for meaningful dialogue on important cultural issues. As an organization, we have never and will never endorse a candidate or a political party. Our commitment to the Lamb’s Agenda – not to the Donkey or the Elephant – remains stronger than ever. And, this election cycle demonstrates an unprecedented need for an independent Christian movement to emerge.”

NHCLC/CONEL is the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, which serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and hundreds of thousands of additional congregations spread worldwide throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. For additional information, visit http://www.nhclc.org.

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