Evangelicals celebrate Trump's announcement of pathway for Dreamers

Evangelicals leaders are celebrating Donald Trump's announcement of a 'pathway' that could allow hundreds of thousands of people, brought into the US illegally as children, to apply for citizenship.

The issue of Dreamers, as they are known, has been a major issue in the deadlock in Congress with Democrats refusing to vote through a budget that does not protect young people from deportation.

Influential evangelical leader Russell Moore has been outspoken in his support of Dreamers and opposition to deportation.Facebook

But the White House announced a 'Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security' on Thursday and told reporters in a preview on Wednesday: 'We're going to morph into it. It's going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.'

Specifically on Dreamers, Trump said: 'Tell 'em not to be concerned, OK? Tell 'em not to worry. We're going to solve the problem.'

It comes after Trump's administration said it would scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, brought in under Barack Obama's administration. DACA allows law-abiding young people who came to the US illegally as children to apply for temporary rights to live, work and study in America. During the past five years it has allowed 800,000 so-called 'Dreamers' to attend school without fear of deportation.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he is encouraged by the White House framework on immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

Rev Samuel Rodriguez has been vocal in his support of vulnerable undocumented immigrants.Rev Samuel Rodriguez/ Facebook

'I'm pleased to see the White House offer a framework for Dreamers,' Moore said. 'I'm especially glad it outlines a path to citizenship. This is a good starting point for Congress to get to work. Our immigration system has been broken for too long, and it's well past time to pass a permanent solution.'

Rev Dr Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who has campaigned strongly for Dreamers, said the decision is 'a fulfilment of everything this administration has promised us since President Trump's inauguration'.

He said: 'We stand at the precipice of achieving a permanent solution for Dreamers, and both sides of the immigration debate must be willing to make a compromise to get the job done. While there are certainly aspects of this proposal either party may disagree on, there is also much they can celebrate. Let us accomplish a bold and lasting solution for childhood arrivals, and yes, let us deliver enhanced border security too.

'In the spirit of compromise, with so many lives and families hanging in the balance, I strongly urge Congress to not let this historic opportunity slip away, but instead embrace a compromise that history will record as a righteous victory for our nation.'