US evangelicals unite in high-profile ad urging political protection of refugees

Several high-profile US evangelicals have attached their names to an advertisement in the Washington Post today, urging action from President Trump and Congress on immigration policy and the protection of refugees.

The full-page advertisement is featured in today's Washington Post, as Sarah Pulliam Bailey reported for the publication yesterday. It bears the names of leaders including Max Lucado, Ann Voskamp, who have previously spoken out on immigration issues, as well as other influential – but less frequently politically inclined – leaders like Texas megachurch pastor Matt Chandler. It also includes popular authors and speakers Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker, and Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and a member of Trump's evangelical advisory council.

ReutersThousands of Christians from Iraq and Syria have been forced to flee persecution at the hands of ISIS.

The advert comes from the refugee resettlement agency World Relief, who in January publicly damned Trump's infamous 'travel ban' a year after it was first executed, calling it a 'net loss' that hurt persecuted Christians amongst thousands of other refugees in need.

Today's ad, which has more than 1,000 signatures from diverse evangelical leaders across the US, reads: 'Based on arrivals so far in this fiscal year, the United States is on track to admit the lowest number of refugees since the formalization of the US Refugee Resettlement Program in 1980.

'This, at a time when there are more refugees in the world than ever before in recorded history. Our prayer is that the US would continue to be a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution.'

Rodriguez has frequently been at the helm of evangelical advocacy for immigrants, particularly defending the cause of 'dreamers', young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children. Trump provoked outrage among evangelicals last year when he announced plans to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration programme. DACA was Obama-era legislation that protected 'dreamers' and allowed them to work legally.

The US government previously came to a shutdown when a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, on issues including the protection of DACA, was not reached. Trump later said the dreamers' 'problem' would be solved, and he promised bipartisan progress on the issue in his State of the Union address, to the celebration of evangelicals.

Alongside the letter, World Relief is today hosting a bipartisan press conference on Washington DC's Capitol Hill, further addressing the plight of refugees and political efforts at a DACA solution.

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