WASHINGTON — With Congress facing a deadline to resolve the situation of “Dreamers,” several nationally prominent evangelical leaders from Texas are among the signatories to a letterurging President Trump and Members of Congress to protect Dreamers, refugees, persecuted Christians, and immigrant families seeking reunification.
Among the Texas-based leaders to sign the letter were Matthew Chandler, senior pastor of The Village Church, which has several campus throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex; Houston-based Bible teacher Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries; bestselling author Jen Hatmaker, based in Austin, and author and pastor Max Lucado of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio.
The letter was published yesterday as a full-page ad in the Washington Post and announced at a press conference on Capitol Hill that featured remarks from Jesse Rincones, executive director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas. Senators James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) and Angus King (I-Maine) also spoke, as did nationally prominent evangelical leaders including Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Shirley Hoogstra of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Galen Carey of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Ruth Velasquez of Voices of Christian Dreamers.
The letter and press conference were coordinated by World Relief, which for decades has worked with local churches in an around Fort Worth and in various other locations throughout the country to welcome refugees and other immigrants.
Select Quotes From Texan Signatories to the Letter:
Jesse Rincones, Executive Director, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, Board Member, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC):
“Providing a permanent DACA solution is the most pro-family, pro-education, pro-economy and pro-faith step that Congress and the president can take on this issue. Their failure to do so has far reaching effects beyond just the estimated 120,000 DACA recipients in Texas. It will be our local churches, and our local communities that continue to deal with the repercussions of such a failure.”
John Parsons, Office Director, World Relief Fort Worth:
“Texas has been among the top states that resettled refugees have made their home in recent years. Many local churches have long been an integral part of welcoming refugees into the Lone Star State and into our nation, and evangelical leaders are deeply troubled by the dramatic decline in refugee resettlement over the past year as a result of policy changes. We’re also very concerned with the plight of Dreamers, young people brought to the U.S. as children, many of whom are now integral parts of local church communities. I join pastors and Christian leaders from throughout the state in praying Congress and the President will act quickly and wisely to protect these vulnerable immigrant populations.”
Dr. Gus Reyes, Director, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission:
“The young immigrants known as Dreamers are not just an abstract question for Texas Baptists—many have received Christ as Lord and serve as leaders within our congregations. They and many other immigrants, including resilient refugees who have fled persecution because of their Christian faith or for other reasons, have been a blessing to our nation and to our state. We urge our elected officials to pursue actions to help bring resolution to this current situation.”
Tim Moore, Senior Pastor, Walk Worthy Baptist Church, Austin:
“Our president and the Texas congressional delegation have a unique opportunity to lead, putting aside partisan differences to find common-sense solutions that are in the economic interests of our state, will protect our security, and demonstrate the compassion of a state where many of us are guided by biblical principles. My prayer is that they will act quickly to protect those facing the expiration of the DACA program, that we will continue to be a safe haven for those seeking refuge from persecution, and that we will maintain legal immigration avenues for close family members to be reunited.”
World Relief invites others to add their name to the letter here.
View the ABC News livestream of yesterday’s press conference here, including full comments from Jesse Rincones of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas beginning at 34:03.
World Relief is a global humanitarian aid and development organization that stands with the vulnerable and partners with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transform lives and build sustainable communities. With over 70 years of experience, World Relief has 25 offices in the United States that specialize in refugee and immigration services, and works in 20 countries worldwide through disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding. www.worldrelief.org