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Faith Communities Call for Immigration Reform

Faith Communities Call for Immigration Reform

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Breaking News from the Hispanic Church

  February, 2006 – Faith communities have stepped in to call for comprehensive immigration reform that would help ease the suffering of immigrants as spending on programs and systems to control the flow of immigrants over national borders have been included in President Bush's $2.77 trillion budget for fiscal 2007. The president’s new plan includes a $247 million spending on a guest worker program for immigrants, 1,500 new Border Patrol agents and a system to help states check immigration status. "The administration's plan,” states a summary of the proposals on border security, “is to catch all migrants attempting to enter the country illegally, decrease crime rates along the border, allow employers to hire legal foreign workers when no American is willing to take the job, and restore public confidence in the federal government's ability to enforce immigration laws.” The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a newly formed coalition of evangelical clergy, expressed concern over such proposals as a border wall and the lack of any process for illegal immigrants to legalize their status in the United States. It urged for reform proposals protecting those already in the country to remain so legally. Also, in a statement released last week, World Relief urged churches and congregants alike to push for comprehensive immigration reform. "Our faith teaches us to welcome our brothers and sisters with love and compassion," stated the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. "World Relief joins this call for policies that respect the dignity of all people and honor our deep tradition as a nation of immigrants. The time has come for Christian churches of all sizes to do the same." World Relief had joined other religious leaders in an interfaith statement last October that called for an opportunity for hard-working immigrants already in the country to regularize their status and have the option of becoming legal residents and eventually U.S. citizens, and for border protection policies that were consistent with humanitarian values among other proposals. "We call for immigration reform because each day in our congregations, service programs, health-care facilities, and schools, we witness the human consequences of an outmoded system,” the Christian relief organization stated. “We see and hear the suffering of immigrants who have been separated from their family or who have experienced exploitation in the workplace or abuse at the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and others,” it added. “In our view, changes to the U.S. legal immigration system would help put an end to the suffering, that offends the dignity of all people made in the image of God." Courtesy Lillian Kwon The Christian Post