Immigration Ministries Praise Biden’s Day One Priority

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Proposed legislation would give 11 million a path to citizenship and prioritize keeping families together.

Evangelical advocates for immigrants and refugees were encouraged by President Joe Biden’s decision to send proposed reforms to Congress on his first day in office. Just hours after he was sworn in, Biden unveiled the US Citizenship Act of 2021.

“I see it as a positive sign,” said Matthew Soerens, national coordinator of the Evangelical Immigration Table. “The new administration is leading on this issue as a day one priority.”

Soerens and others have not yet reviewed the bill that will be sent to Congress but say the proposed legislation is the beginning of a long process toward much-needed reform.

According to the White House, the legislation is “centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair and orderly immigration system” and places a priority on keeping families together.

Biden’s plan represents a sharp U-turn after four years of strong opposition to immigration and a policy of making the process more painful, captured most vividly by the separation of thousands of children from their parents under a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings. Former president Donald Trump’s administration also took hundreds of other steps to enhance enforcement, limit eligibility for asylum, and cut legal immigration.

Biden’s proposals also breaks from Barack Obama’s approach. The former Democratic president promised a sweeping bill but waited five years to introduce it while logging more than 2 million deportations.

World Relief welcomes the change and said a reform bill could help the country live up to its ideals and values.

“We firmly believe that America has a moral imperative to welcome refugees, …

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