WASHINGTON (BP) — Thousands have viewed and shared an open letter signed by Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore and a related video endorsing just and fair immigration following a full-page ad in The New York Times.
Moore, a longtime supporter of the just treatment of immigrants, is among eight faith leaders included in 65 initial and ethnically diverse signatories of the letter, “Immigrants and Immigration Strengthen Us,” authored by the Washington-based National Immigration Forum, published in The Times on Independence Day and posted online the previous day.
Christians above all others should understand the importance of fair and just immigration, Moore told Baptist Press today (July 6), noting that immigrants have contributed much to the U.S.
“We were, after all, sojourners in Egypt and are, right now, pilgrims in a strange land headed toward our ultimate home,” Moore emailed BP. “Baptist churches all around the country are at the forefront of ministry to our immigrant neighbors and, more than that, the vitality of the Gospel is perhaps most clearly seen right now in what God is doing in churches made up of immigrant believers.”
The Times published the ad in the Washington-area edition, and an online video and ad invited readers and viewers to sign the letter. National Immigration Forum communications director Cathleen Farrell told BP thousands have shared the letter and video, but could not specify how many had signed the letter as of today.
“The video has been viewed and shared by thousands,” Farrell said. “The sign-on letter shows the broad swath of support for immigrants and immigration and a recognition of the contributions immigrants make to our country, and the engagement on social media is a reflection of the welcome from the general public for their immigrant brothers and sisters.”
The letter’s opening statement reads, “Immigrants and immigration strengthen these United States, as they have since our founding. How we treat immigrants, refugees and their families reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.”
Family worth, the nation’s wide-reaching reputation as a land of opportunity and hope, human dignity, religious freedoms are promoted in the letter, which encourages constructive conversation on immigration among the nation’s leaders.
“We call on America’s leaders once again to encourage citizenship for those who are eligible and want to pledge full allegiance to our country,” the letter reads, “and to allow all of us, American by birth or American by choice, to reach our fullest potential.”
Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, are among the faith leaders listed as initial signatories, as are Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief; Shirley Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Hyepin Im, president and CEO of Faith and Community Empowerment; Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador and general superintendent emerita of The Wesleyan Church; and Joe S. Vásquez, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.
Joining faith representatives among signatories are business, law enforcement and security leaders. The statement can be signed at https://immigrationforum.org/article/america-can-be-great/ and the digital ad viewed at https://www.facebook.com/NationalImmigrationForum/videos/10156399970085786/. The full statement is available at https://immigrationforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/July-4-NYT-ad.pdf.
Founded in 1982, the National Immigration Forum describes itself as an advocate for the value of immigrants and immigration, aimed at promoting “responsible federal immigration policies” and “addressing today’s economic and national security needs while honoring the ideals of our founding fathers.”