January 12, 2018
World Relief Statement on President Trump’s Reported Immigration Comments
Since last evening, a national conversation has unfolded on news and social media channels in response to President Trump’s reported comments regarding immigrants from Haiti and from African countries, spoken during a meeting this week with Congressional leaders.
World Relief and its leadership are grieved and disheartened by the President’s reported comments and believe that while there is a robust debate to be had about immigration policy in the United States, disrespectful and derogatory comments spoken about specific countries—regardless of who is making such comments—only hinder the productivity of the debate. We also believe that as an organization whose mission is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable, World Relief must, in moments of national conversation like this, restate and recommit to that mission.
We believe that the Bible demonstrates that each person—inclusive of every race, ethnicity or country of origin—is made in the image of God (Imago Dei). This is true of citizens of the United States, Haiti and countries throughout Africa. In our almost 75 year history, we have spent much time in these countries. World Relief CEO Tim Breene says, “I have been fortunate to come alongside communities and families in some of the hardest places in the world…I have walked the dusty roads of towns and villages in the nations we too easily look down upon from our perch of privilege. I have sat in the homes of people and have heard their stories of suffering, seen their resilience and seen how they can find joy and be thankful to God even in the most challenging circumstances. They have taught me what it is to love, what it is to have faith and what it is to have hope in things as yet unseen. They have taught me humility and blessed me with their friendship.”
Because World Relief believes that Jesus has called his followers to love the foreigner and the poor, we do not lament that the United States has welcomed men, women and children from vulnerable countries. We celebrate it. And we continue, as we have for 75 years, to look for every opportunity we can to empower local churches to stand with the vulnerable among us—U.S. citizens and the foreign-born alike.
We do not believe that compassion and security are mutually exclusive. Nor do we believe that welcoming the foreigner and creating opportunities for our own citizens are mutually exclusive.
We pray that the church in the United States will take seriously the Imago Dei in each person and see the dignity in the people of every country of the world. And we pray that God would move in the hearts of those inside and outside of the church to see the welcoming and integration of the foreign born in the United States as a spiritual, social and economic opportunity for each citizen of our country.