'Diminishing America': Major evangelical group attacks Trump-backed immigration act

Demonstrations at Chicago's O'Hare AirportReuters

A major evangelical humanitarian organisation has launched an attack on a new immigration plan backed by President Trump.

World Relief has spoken out after Trump offered his support for the RAISE Act which was proposed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.

The act would cut the number of legal migrants into the USA by up to 50 per cent.

Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, has issued a strong statement criticising parts of the act and suggesting it 'diminishes [the] US'.

'The notion of severely limiting legal immigration goes against the historic American values of freedom and opportunity, he said. 'We're pro-security, pro-economy, pro-family. This bill, however, significantly hampers the reunification of families in the United States which are the building blocks of our society.'

It isn't just the provisions for Green Cards which are causing controversy, though. The act would cap the number of refugees taken in by the US to 50,000 per year. In response to that proposal, another World Relief Spokesperson, Emily Gray said, 'Limiting the refugee admissions ceiling permanently to 50,000 abdicates our responsibility to those fleeing violence and persecution.'

The strongly worded intervention is unusual because many evangelical organisations have been vocally supportive of the Trump presidency, or at least kept their counsel. Now though, World Relief, which was founded in 1944 by the National Association of Evangelicals, has broken ranks.

Yesterday, White House adviser Stephen Miller described the RAISE Act as, 'pro-American immigration reform'. That line seems to have been dismissed by World Relief.

The organisation's president also joined the intervention, saying: 'When a nation of immigrants and refugees forsakes its past, it gives up its future.

Scott Arbeiter continued: 'We cannot lose the heart of compassion that gave so many of our own grandparents hope and refuge. The world needs American leadership; America needs the dignity, beauty and ingenuity of the peoples of the world. This is not a conversation about us versus them.' 

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