Focus on the Family President Join Evangelical Leaders in Endorsing U.S. Immigration Reform
By Ruth Miyake - Crossmap On June 13, 2012
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly has signed a document endorsing immigration reform, joining more than 100 other evangelical leaders who want to grant illegal immigrants opportunities to attain U.S. citizenship.
"I just felt – along with the board of directors here a Focus, who just met this week so the timing was perfect – that fundamentally all of us were concerned about the family issues related to this issue now," Daly told Christianity Today.
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It is the first time for Focus on the Family to formally join this coalition with a star-studded list of evangelical leaders - from Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Max Lucado, Russell Moore, J.D. Greear and Timothy George. In addition, organizations like the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and World Relief are joining the effort.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the coalition released an "Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform," which is then to be delivered to the House and Senate.
"I think it's really going to give some new energy to the movement," said NAE spokesman Galen Carey, according to ABC News.
"Our focus is not just addressing ourselves to politicians but to our own communities and encouraging all evangelicals to take a serious look at the issue from a biblical and pastoral and human perspective."
On the issue of immigration, most Republican leaders have taken the stance that U.S. borders should be closed and current illegal immigrants should be deported immediately, while Democrats advocate for permitting legal status for those already in the country, and further granting them eligibility for government benefits such as welfare, food stamps and unemployment benefits.
There are around 12 to 15 million estimated illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Daly, who succeeded Focus on the Family from James Dobson back in 2010, told The Wall Street Journal that he wanted Focus on the Family to have a broader scope of concerns, beyond the hot-button social issues like gay marriage and abortion, expressing that families were being "torn apart" under the current enforcement actions against illegal immigrants.
"I signed on to this statement because immigration reform is more than an 'issue' to families – it profoundly affects their stability, structure and quality of life," Daly said in a statement. "We call on Republicans and Democrats alike to set aside their party agendas and work together for the public agenda and the common good."
"The Christian community has got to find the right footing to be able to express truth and express those things that are lawful, and at the same time express the heart of God," Daly said in the Christianity Today interview.
"I just don't think the heart of God is against somebody trying to do better. People need to abide by laws. But we don't want to dehumanize people or stigmatize people simply because they're trying to better their lives and help their own families. We've got to be careful that we do not do that as a Christian community."