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President of World Relief Stephan Bauman Meets with President Obama, Urges Ongoing Leadership on Immigration Reform
World Relief President and CEO Stephan Bauman met with President Obama today in Washington, D.C. to discuss how the faith community can work with Congress and the Administration to pass immigration reform. World Relief has been leading an effort through the Evangelical Immigration Table to educate and mobilize evangelicals throughout the United States to engage with Scripture and take action on immigration reform.
“I applaud the President for his genuine commitment to immigration reform. I believe the President understands the moral implications of not fixing our broken system and also the ongoing challenges that many undocumented immigrants face in our country today,” said Bauman. “As an organization that has been empowering local churches in the United States to serve immigrants in our communities, we feel encouraged that the President is committed to working with Members of Congress to pass immigration reform this year.”
In our meeting, we reiterated the importance of the faith community in not just advocating for immigration reform but in being a bridge to provide services to immigrants if immigration reform passes. Bauman continued, “We specifically encouraged the President to consider the implications of passage of reform and to partner with faith-based organizations in helping immigrants in the integration process, specifically by providing immigrant legal service, and English and civics classes.”
World Relief also commends the leaders in the Senate and House for their ongoing work crafting an immigration bill. In support of the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform, World Relief continues to encourage elected officials to support a bill that includes an earned pathway to eventual citizenship, strong support for family unity, and provisions that would facilitate the integration of immigrants into our society in partnership with the faith-based community. Bauman continued, “For too long, immigrants who are integral members of the body of Christ have been living in the shadows of our society. The passage of immigration reform would help restore dignity to their lives and put many on a path towards reconciliation with the larger community.”
Additionally, as part of an effort to change the conversation around immigration in the country, World Relief, as a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, launched the “I Was A Stranger” Challenge,- the largest grassroots effort to mobilize thousands of evangelicals on the issue of immigration. The Challenge encourages individuals, students, pastors, and legislators to go back to the root of their faith and have Scripture inform their attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policy. To inspire discipleship and mobile Challenge participants, a simple bookmark with forty Scripture passages that relate to immigration as well as a video with widely-recognized evangelical leaders reading Matthew 25, where Jesus himself identifies with those who are “strangers,” are staples of this Challenge.
Since its mid-January launch, the Challenge has received unprecedented support through various grassroots channels: participants from 49 states have together ordered over 60,000 bookmarks from 634 churches/organizations/ministries and about 1,000 individuals. In addition, the “I Was A Stranger” video has been viewed more than 14,000 times and tweets have been sent to 1 million followers with the hash tag “#IWasAStranger.”
About World Relief
World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, is a faith-based international relief and development organization committed to serving the most vulnerable populations through the local church. World Relief currently works on five continents, in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. In the United States, World Relief focuses on serving the foreign-born, including providing immigrant legal services to refugees, asylees, parolees, victims of trafficking and other vulnerable immigrants in twenty-four cities around the country. Since 1979, World Relief has resettled over 236,000 refugees in the United States. www.worldrelief.org
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