At its meeting in late September, the Christian Reformed Church’s Board of Trustees endorsed a resolution calling on the U.S. government to reform the country’s immigration system.
The draft resolution was produced by the National Association of Evangelicals, of which the CRC is a member.
The resolution states that while the Bible does not offer a blueprint for modern legislation, it can serve as a moral compass and shape the attitudes of those who believe in God. “Policies must be evaluated to reflect that immigrants are made in the image of God and demonstrate biblical grace to the foreigner,” the statement says.
The NAE resolution says that current quotas do not grant enough visas to meet the needs of industries that rely on immigrant workers, and backlogs under family-based immigration law cause excessive periods of family separation.
It also states that immigrant communities offer fresh opportunities for the church, especially for evangelism, church planting, and raising up new leaders. “These spiritual realities remind evangelicals that . . . immigration cannot be reduced to economics and national security issues,” the statement reads.
The NAE resolution calls on churches to treat immigrants with respect and mercy, and calls on government to establish more functional legal avenues for the annual entry of a reasonable number of immigrant workers and their families, dedicate more resources to family reunification, and establish a process for undocumented workers to earn legal status and citizenship.
Trustee Rev. Sheila Holmes, pastor of Northside Community (CRC) in Paterson, N.J., says she supports the resolution, but wonders whether it says enough. “Our churches are full of people who don’t know if they will be moved out or not. Just to call on government to do something doesn’t mean they will do the right thing,” she said.
the text of the NAE resolution can be found at http://www.nae.net/resolution/347-immigration-2009